DOING THEMSELVES FAVORS
- Ji-Man Choi - It's hard to believe but the Mariners are crowded at first base (just, unfortunately with a pile of replacement level talent). Choi lacks power, but went 2-for-2 on Friday. He won't make the team out of camp, but a hot spring matters, especially with a new coaching staff. Brad Miller's strong spring last year played a role in his call-up midseason. Choi, particularly with Jesus Montero's weight concerns, has a chance to log more innings at first base than his complete lack of buzz suggests. Pay attention to him.
- Nate Tenbrink - Tenbrink is probably a bit old to be a prospect now, but injuries the past few seasons slowed his track to the majors. I like his versatility and I want him to show well in spring. He could be a surprising early call-up given how versatile he is. 2-for-3 days with a dinger help him stand out.
- Jesus Sucre - Sucre is known as a defensive catcher, so any hitting is gravy. He got some hits today and a torrid spring might give him a chance to challenge John Buck. Who knows. It's early, so I'm grasping for storylines.
- Carson Smith - I'm a believer in Smith, to the point that I think he is a dark horse to make the opening day roster. He quietly struck out 3 batters in relief today and also outshone fellow AA reliever Dominic Leone, who followed right after him. The injuries in the rotation might force several arms to move around the staff and open up a spot for a spring training surprise.
- Ramon Ramirez - The veteran reliever threw a wild pitch and had a throwing error that let the lone Padres run score. Probably not a disastrous outing, but not good.
- Ty Kelly - Two strikeouts, no walks, for a guy that will live and die with his plate discipline. Not the best first game.
- Really, it's hard to find many bad performances in a 12-1 victory.
This spring is probably more important than last year's, if for no other reason than a new manager comes with a fresh perspective. Guys that perform well in spring are likely to get more opportunities with McClendon because he doesn't have much of a history with any of these players. It will be interesting to see who turns Friday's good game into a good week or two or whole month in the desert.