The latest from Spring Training

by Ben Catley
94 days before the Season Opener and Home Opener

Well, the Major League Baseball season starts in two weeks. Yup, two weeks. I will let that set in for a moment …

Can you only imagine how this will all play out? No matter where your allegiances lie, there is plenty of intrigue about to play out all over the place.

Except in Center Field and at the top of the order for the Arizona Diamondbacks, where it is looking more and more like Adam Eaton (2010 Osprey) has taken full advantage of his opportunity and locked down that job. Eaton was featured in a MiLB Prospect Q&A recently, sharing a number of things, especially the reason why he doesn’t mind being a magnet for baseballs while he is at-bat. By the way, Eaton is hitting .358 this spring, with a pair of home runs and nine RBIs.

– Guess who is the best-hitting former Osprey player (with a regular amount of at-bats) in camp right now?? The answer … Paul Goldschmidt (2009), who is hitting .405 with a pair of doubles and five RBIs. No spring home runs for Goldy, but the power is still there. His focus has been getting ready for the season, and with his reputation of being able to hit home runs where it’s hit so deep that it takes a kid with a bike and a bagged lunch to go find, teams don’t want to tempt fate. We shall see what happens when the season begins …

– Also quietly putting together an eye-opening spring is Gerardo Parra (2006), who is leading the club with three home runs and 11 RBIs while hitting .at a .393 clip. Miguel Montero (2002-03) is hitting .316 in his time in camp with a pair of runs batted in. Both are back now from their time with Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

– More D-backs’ news … five more players were reassigned to the minor-league camp on Monday. The high-profile name was left-hander Tyler Skaggs, who was assigned to Triple-A Reno. Former Osprey catcher Rossmel Perez (2008) was reassigned to minor-league camp.

– Former Osprey who have appeared in a Cactus League game … well, to say that number will be in continuous flux for the next two weeks is an understatement. Here’s the list as we can find it just within the D-backs camp:
Socrates Brito (2012)
David Nick (2009)
Ollie Linton (2008)
Ryan Court (2011)
Jake Lamb (2012)
Breland Almadova (2012)
Taylor Harbin (2007)
Evan Marzilli (2012)
Andrew Barbosa (2012)
Andrew Chafin (2011)
Conrad Flynn (2011)
Bradin Hagens (2009)
Ray Hernandez (2011)
Archie Bradley (2011)
Seth Simmons (2011)
JR Bradley (2010)
Taylor Siemens (2011)

This list does not include the players on the 40-man roster – Chase Anderson (2009), Charles Brewer (2009), Eric Smith (2009), Eury De La Rosa (2009), Keon Brozton (2009) and, of course, the guys likely headed to Phoenix to start the season in Eaton, Goldschmidt, Parra and Montero – or whom were on the list of Non-Roster Invitees – Jon Griffin (2011), Chris Ownings (2009), Rossmel Perez (2008), David Holmberg (2010).

– In Houston Astros camp, though, a number of spots on the 25-man roster could come down to the final days, and will be taking more than 25 players to Minute Maid Park for their final two exhibition games of the spring. In part, that is good strategy, but it may very well be coming down to the last days to find out who will be staying around for the April 1 opener. Still in the mix are former Osprey Jake Elmore (2008), who has his Grapefruit League average up to .214 after a slow start, with two doubles and two RBIs, and Hector Ambriz (2006), who has a solid opponents batting average (.189) and WHIP (0.92) while going 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in five spring appearances.

– Despite a slow spring, hitting just .238 with a home run and five RBIs, Carlos Gonzalez (2003) has put together a favorable .884 OPS in nine games in camp with the Colorado Rockies. CarGo has a .407 on-base percentage in his limited at-bats, due to the World Baseball Classic (also played on the Venezuela squad).

– Speaking of the WBC, we found another former Osprey who participated in the tournament – former infielder Jack Santora (1999) played for Italy during the tournament.

Next week, the annual Ben’s Crystal Ball blog will come out … please vote on the O’s Poll of the Moment and share with us who you’ll think will be the next former Osprey to make their Major League debuts. I will reveal two names for both position players and pitchers who are next … at least in my mind … and share that with you. We’ll also reveal the poll results to see who you think is next up to get the call.

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