B.J. Upton’s swing has changed some, but whether it’s the dramatic difference he needs remains to be seen.
Upton’s 2013 was a perfect storm of bad habits rolled into a swing that was all arms and generated no lower-body help. It led to slow bat speed, whiffing through velocity and not being able to drive anything up the middle.
Games of March 6
Micah Johnson, White Sox: 3-5, SB. Johnson has one of the best run tools in the minor leagues. Bat should play average. Raw doesn't get enough credit.
Kyle Parker, Rockies: 1-2, 2B, RBI. Parker needs his power at full potential to max his value. The only other noticeable tool is a solid arm.
Games of March 5
Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: 1-2, HR, 2 RBI, BB. A personal favorite of mine. Bogaerts has elite aptitude to match the excellent tools, and he should be successful in the majors for a long time.
Christian Vazquez, Red Sox: 2-3. Vazquez has been drawing rave reviews for his catching defense this spring, and prospect writers are saying "told you so." If Vazquez can hit even a lick, he's a first-division regular.
Baseball Prospectus announced a step forward with its catcher framing data Monday, which included putting framing numbers into every player profile on the website. I sing the publication’s praises nearly every day with links and comments on its content, so it’s no surprise that I find this information exciting.
Games of March 4
Gregory Polanco, Pirates: 2-3, 2B, RBI. Five-tool talent from a big frame. It's only a matter of time before he's wreaking havoc on the NL Central.
Brandon Nimmo, Mets: 1-2, RBI. Nimmo didn't stand out at the plate like I expected in Savannah last season, but he's built like a rock and is a great athlete.
Cesar Puello, Mets: 1-2, 2B. Great athlete with plus power potential, but has a Biogenesis connection hovering over his name.
Games of March 3
Garin Cecchini, Red Sox: 0-1, 2 BB. These are the types of lines you could see often from Cecchini, who has an excellent eye and draws a lot of walks. The former fourth-rounder isn't the typical corner profile, with only 14 career minor league home runs in 279 games.
Danny Santana, Twins: 2-5, 2 3B, 3 RBI. Santana has blazing speed and can play all over the field, making him a prime utility candidate soon. His ceiling is a second-division starter.
My first look at Georgia Tech this year produced the "ho-hum, Tech is good" sentiment that has become common for the program for years now. The Yellow Jackets are a solid team top to bottom and should be considered a regional threat again.
Giants minor league second baseman Ryan Jones has been suspended 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance, according to Joey Nowak of MLB.com.
Jones tested positive for Amphetamine, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Jones' suspension will take effect at the beginning of the 2014 season.
We all know what Andrelton Simmons is capable of defensively. Youtube videos have been created. He's getting his own bobblehead this season, and it's not because he hit 17 home runs in 2013. I mean, the guy can flip the ball to first or second base from the seat of his pants, or even when the seat of his pants is off the ground.
He's basically Superman with a dirty uniform and glove.