Brayan Bello made his first spring appearance on Sunday and struck out three batters across two scoreless innings for Boston. Bello had been dealing with some forearm tightness at the beginning of spring but came out of Sunday's outing feeling great. The Red Sox are expected though to place him on the IL to give him proper time to get his pitch count up to rejoin the rotation. Bello posted a 4.71 ERA in 57.1 innings last year for Boston, striking out just under a batter per inning. The majority of the damage against him came in July where he had a 8.82 ERA over 16.1 innings. In August he improved to a 4.66 ERA over 9.2 innings but then in September he had a 1.65 ERA over 27.1 innings while striking out a batter per inning. With health I have a hard time believing that Bello isn't one of the Red Sox top five starters and should have a role in the rotation once he gets up to full speed.
Garrett Mitchell returned to the lineup on Monday after missing a week and a half with a strained hamstring. I wrote about him earlier in the spring, but Mitchell is one of my favorite late round OF targets due to his exceptional speed. His raw power is also solid, and a bit of a swing change could easily unlock double-digit power to go along with 25+ stolen bases. He's got the inside job to be the starting centerfielder for the Brewers to break camp and Roster Resource has him projected to hit 7th the lineup.
Justin Turner returned to the DH spot on Monday and hit third for the Red Sox. Turner had been out since March 6th after getting hit in the face by a pitch. Turner should be in line to play regularly at DH for the Sox and also spell Rafael Devers and Triston Casas on each of the corner spots of the infield. Turner has hit over .275 in every season since 2011 as one of the most steady hitters in terms of average, with his power peaking while with the Dodgers hitting 27 homers in two seasons. He dropped back to just 13 homers last season but that was due to him playing 30 less games and getting almost 80 fewer at bats. It wasn't a 27 homer pace again last year but he's still going to provide solid average and hover around 20 homers with fulltime at bats.
Paul Dejong has been dealing with back soreness and apparently has had a setback that could put his availability for opening day into question. He was initially expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday but that plan has already been cancelled for now and they are going to create a new program for him. Manager Oliver Marmol said that they aren't sure if he'll be able to get in the lineup before spring ends. Right now, the projection would likely have Tommy Edman sliding over to cover SS in the meantime and then Brendan Donovan could find his way into everyday at bats at second base. There's still another week+ for more updates on his availability.
Kyle Wright made his spring debut on Monday and had some poor results, allowing four runs over 2.2 innings with five hits allowed. He didn't strike out a single batter, but also didn't walk anyone. Wright was slated to throw just 35 pitches this game to begin getting his workload up. Wright broke out last year to lead the majors in wins and posted a 3.19 ERA over 180 innings. He does allow a good chunk of hard contact, including a pair of homers today, but does a solid job of getting whiffs and last year we saw his groundball rate jump to 55%. Keeping the ball on the ground with the hard contact he gives up is a great match, even if he doesn't do either at an elite level.
Matt Vierling returned to the lineup on Monday, hitting leadoff for the Tigers. Vierling has had an extremely strong spring entering Monday with a .467 average and two homers. The Tigers offense isn't exactly one that has a lot of lockdown solutions, so Vierling could get into the outfield mix with no one solidified outside of Riley Greene. The production in the majors hasn't matched what the numbers under the hood look like, but last season Vierling did pair an 88th percentile hard-hit rate with a 97th percentile sprint speed. The park he's in now is certainly a step back compared to Philly, but Vierling at least has the tools to make things intriguing if he were given regular at bats.
DL Hall struck out four batters in 1.2 innings in his 2023 debut Monday, but did allow three runs to the Phillies. While Grayson Rodriguez has pulled away as the jewel of the Orioles pitching prospects, Hall is an extremely high upside lefty and the team said Monday that they haven't ruled him out of breaking camp with the team as a reliever to start the season. Long term, Hall still projects as a starter but there's also the upside of his elite stuff in the back end of a bullpen that could lead to a dominant closer in the majors. Last season in AAA he struck out 125 batters in 76.2 innings, but does have an issue with walks that lead him to a 1.46 WHIP.
Michael Lorenzen is dealing with groin tightness and was scratched from his start on Monday. There's no note yet as to whether this could be something that keeps him out to begin the season but considering he threw just shy of 70 pitches in his last outing, he's not terribly far off from his arm being ready for the start of the season. Lorenzen joined the Tigers this offseason after posting a 4.24 ERA over 97.2 innings with the Angels, but unlike in LAA the Tigers are not going to let Lorenzen hit and he'll be a starting pitcher only for the team. Pending health, he should comfortably have a spot in the rotation to provide innings but the range of possible results for him are all over the place. He's still just a waiver-wire player right now.
Eury Perez was optioned to minor league camp on Sunday, ending the slim chance he had to potentially break camp with the Marlins. Perez is on the short list for best pitching prospect in the minors, and even at 19 years old his debut this season is certainly not out of the question. Perez struck out 10 batters this spring against a pair of walks, but hitters did have success when they made contact as he allowed 14 hits, nine runs, and two homers in his 10.2 innings. Last year Perez struck out 106 batters in just 75 innings in AA, and the Marlins haven't said if he'll return to AA to start the season or if he'll get the bump to AAA. Regardless of where he starts, he's one phone call away and would be an immediate add in leagues but he can be safely ignored now to start the season in fantasy.
Mike Soroka's 2023 Spring Training debut is scheduled for Wednesday. Soroka is set to throw two innings after he has recovered from a hamstring strain that he suffered just before camp fully opened. He's coming off a pair of achillies tears, and a shoulder issue towards the end of last season that ended his return. There's a zero percent chance that he breaks spring with the team so this will just be a gauge to see where he sits velocity-wise and see how his stuff plays. Dylan Dodd and Jared Shuster are competing for the final rotation spot out of camp and Soroka will likely be placed on the IL or outrighted to the minors entirely over the next week to let him work in Gwinnett on getting up to full steam.
Eloy Jiminez is day-to-day after leaving Monday's game with a calf cramp. It's great news for Jimenez who dealt with a ton of injuries last season that it's nothing serious. Ideally, Jimenez just plays DH for the White Sox but it seems like the team is going to continue to try and get him some outfield reps to keep him fresh out there. He did play right field a bit for the Dominican Republic in the WBC before they were eliminated from the tournament.
Jarred Kelenic left Monday's game with some quad tightness that's been described as minor by the team. He's been tagged as day-by-day by the team but with his hot spring, the team is certainly going to take the cautious route with him as he's played him self potentially back into the outfield mix. For the spring he's slashing .410/.439/1.311 with four homers and three stolen bases. We haven't heard any news yet for him on the potential for him making the roster, but the raw production plus his shaving his strikeout rate down to 20%. It's spring stats, but it's better than what he's done in the past.
Hyun Jin Ryu is planning to throw his first bullpen session in April since returning from his Tommy John surgery. The hope for Ryu is that he's going to return to the rotation at some point in the middle of July, which would be an extremely aggressive return compared to what we usually see with starting pitchers these days. Most returns now are pushing closer to 16-18 months, but July would put him right at about 13 months in total recovery time.
Jose Miranda is expected to start at first base on Tuesday for the Twins as he nurses a minor shoulder injury. The Twins first base spot is relatively open with Alex Kirilloff not likely going to be ready to start the season, and we've already seen Joey Gallo (.647 spring OPS) get a handful of starts at the position. Miranda's bat can play pretty much anywhere, so extra positional versatility on the table is nothing but positive for Miranda.
The Braves threw a curveball into the opening day lineup today by optioning Vaughn Grissom and Braden Shewmake to the minor leagues and naming Orlando Arcia as the starting shortstop for the team. As a Braves fan this was, well, surprising as Grissom had hit well this spring and Shewmake is thought highly of on defense. I still think that Arcia is just a stop-gap option and that Grissom will lead the Braves in starts at the position. Things could still change by the time opening day rolls around in two weeks but his draft stock in redraft for Grissom takes a hit but if you are rostering him already I'm not rushing to drop him unless you absolutely have to.
Charlie Blackmon's back injury has kept him out of the lineup, but he's expected to be back by opening day for Colorado. Blackmon told reporters that he isn't rushing to get back into spring action but rather is focused on opening day. Blackmon is coming off a .264/.314/.419 season with 16 homers in 135 games.