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The Battle for the 25th Man: Week 2 Report

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Checking in on how the battle is going

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this changes things, huh?

Signing the best pitcher on the free agent market kind of alters a few of the races here. Well, ok not all of them, but another chance to talk about the heist Matt Klentak just pulled off? Yes please. Any way, let’s check in on these battles.

(all stats through Saturday’s game)

Infield/Outfield

  • Ryan Flaherty - 6 for 17, 4 runs, 4 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 1 XBH (2B)
  • Pedro Florimon - 5 for 20, 5 runs, 0 RBI, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 2 XBH (2 2B)
  • Scott Kingery - 8 for 22, 4 runs, 4 RBI, 2 walk, 5 strikeouts, 4 XBH (2B, 3 HR)
  • Adam Rosales - 5 for 17, 4 runs, 1 RBI, 2 walk, 2 strikeout, 3 XBH (2 2B, 3B)
  • Roman Quinn - 4 for 14, 6 runs, 4 RBI, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts, 1 XBH (HR)
  • Jesmuel Valentin - 5 for 20, 2 runs, 3 RBI, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts, 3 XBH (2 2B, HR)
  • Tommy Joseph - 9 for 21, 2 run, 1 RBI, 2 walk, 4 strikeouts, 3 XBH (3 2B)

Stock Up - Flaherty, Joseph
Stock Down - Rosales

Not much to see here. It’s beginning to look like this will be between Flaherty, Joseph and Valentin. Flaherty is playing all over the place - third base, first base, outfield. If he could play shortstop (he has over 350 innings lifetime there) even passably, he’d be a lock for one of the bench spots. Joseph just keeps hanging around. If you were to look at those spring totals without looking at names and would have to pick two of them, chances are one would be Joseph. Quinn and Valentin will probably join Kingery in getting regular at bats in Lehigh Valley, which isn’t the worst thing for either considering they both missed most of 2017 to various maladies. This continues to be interesting to watch.

Catcher

  • Andrew Knapp - 3 for 13, 3 runs, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 1 XBH (HR)
  • Cameron Rupp - 3 for 17, 2 runs, 0 RBI, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts, 0 XBH

Stock Up - Knapp
Stock Down - Rupp

This is beginning to clear itself up: Knapp has to be considered the favorite at this point. Not only have his plate appearances have been better, his defense is also better as well. He’s thrown out three of six base stealing attempts, but also has two passed balls and three wild pitches. Rupp has only cut down one of six attempts and also has a passed balls and two wild pitches. Both have options left, so the loser might head to Lehigh Valley to mentor the next set of pitchers, but Rupp also has a higher salary ($~2M), so that could play a factor here.

#4/5 starters

  • Zach Eflin - 2 G (1 GS), 4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR
  • Thomas Eshelman - 2 G (1 GS), 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 4 K
  • Ben Lively - 3 GS, 9 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR
  • Nick Pivetta - 2 GS, 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 5 H, 4 BB, 5 K, 2 HR

Stock Up - Lively
Stock Down - all of ‘em

As I write this, Pivetta another rough start, going 4 23 innings, surrendering four hits, three runs (all earned), with one walk and one strikeout. He also served up another home run. We’ve read a lot about how Pivetta’s stuff is great, but we have yet to see any kind of results. While he has lots of time to figure it out, he better start doing it quick. With the signing of Arrieta, the rotation is starting to get a little crowded with spots dwindling.

Meanwhile, Lively just continues to pitch better than his competition for the job. He’ll probably be the fifth starter, but in April, the team doesn’t really need one. How much does it affect him? We’ll just have to see.

Relievers

  • Fernando Abad - 1 G, 0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR
  • Victor Arano - 4 G, 3 23 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K
  • Zac Curtis - 6 G, 4 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 6 K
  • Drew Hutchison - 3 G, 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 6 K
  • Mark Leiter, Jr. - 4 G, 9 13 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 13 K
  • Hoby Milner - 6 G, 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K
  • Ricardo Pinto - 5 G, 4 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 3 K

Stock Up - Leiter, Curtis, Milner, Hutchison
Stock Down - Pinto, Arano

Mark Leiter. What more can you say? Dude has been great this spring. If he’s not going north, it’s because he’s injured.

Drew Hutchison has been making a name for himself, so much so that he has also given management some serious thought about what they’d like to do with him. He doesn’t have an opt-out in his minor league deal, but with as well as he’s throwing, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him traded as spring draws to a close.

The LOOGY battle between Milner and Curtis is getting interesting. Both have similar lines this spring, so there isn’t much to discern them. This is another that will come down to the wire.

Fernando Abad? We hardly knew ye....

Predictions:

Backup catcher: Knapp
Infielder/Outfielder: Flaherty, Valentin (I’m sticking with this guy for now)
#4/5 starter: Arrieta, Lively
Relievers: Leiter, Curtis