Jake Arrieta (P/Chicago Cubs) – Get ready to see plenty more of Arrieta in Chicago this season. He might honestly have one of the best eyes in the League, in my opinion. Both on the mound and at the plate, he understands mechanics and proprioception (where your body is in space) better than most players.
Pitching, Mental Game, Evolving. Jake Arrieta. pic.twitter.com/gYBnMXkJzj— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 29, 2017
The Cubs have been plagued by injuries in the pre-season, so it’s unlikely we’ll see the same lineup we saw last year at the World Series. But Arrieta has had a decent performance during Spring Training. He’s pitched a total of 14 innings and struck out 17 batters. He has an ERA of 5.79 and a WHIP of 1.57. He’s letting people know that just because he’s a veteran pitcher now doesn’t mean he’s gotten relaxed. Check out this 465-foot home run against the Diamondbacks on March 23:
When asked about it after, Arrieta admitted it would’ve been nice to hit a second one on his at-bat, when the bases were loaded.
"When you hit a homer in your first at-bat, you're like, 'It'd be cool to do it again,' especially with the bases loaded," he said. "I got a little overzealous with a changeup and tried to leg it out. It was a decent day at the plate.”
Clearly, the World Series ring on his finger hasn’t weighed Arrieta down. We’re looking forward to watching him this season. You can track stats from his 2017 season here.
Matt Carpenter (3B/St. Louis Cardinals) – Carpenter took most of March off to heal a back that started bothering him at the beginning of the month. It sounds like he strained it after some fielding work, and it forced him to sit out of the World Baseball Classic. He returned on March 17 to face the Mets.
Since his return, he’s had 2 runs on 5 hits, including a home run. He has 10 RBIs and an AVG of .192.
While you can see loads of pictures on Twitter of Carpenter signing shirts, balls, and cards, he posted pictures of himself and teammates visiting children at the hospital this week.
And he took time to wish TCU Basketball good luck at the NIT Finals on Thursday. Great job keeping it classy, Matt.
For all the stats during Carpenter's 2017 season, click here.
Andrew Cashner (P/Texas Rangers) – Welcome home, Andrew Cashner! It’s been rumored for awhile that Cashner wasn’t happy in San Diego. And while he started out strong in SoCal, he was plagued by injury last season and just didn’t seem happy where he was. The Rangers were in need of more pitching depth, and I’m hopeful that bringing Cashner back home will have a positive impact on both sides. And DFW is welcoming him back with open arms.
The Conroe, TX native is still battling injury, with ongoing muscle soreness in his right bicep. But last Friday, he pitched an exhibition here in Arlington against the Royals and closed with three hitless innings, sealing the Rangers’ 3-0 win.
Heads are already turning to watch Cashner this season, pitching for the same team as his childhood hero, Nolan Ryan. Good luck, Cashner!
For more of Cashner's stats, click here.
Brandon Finnegan (P/Cincinnati Reds) – We all know Reds fans are a little intense.
And last season was nowhere near what they expected, finishing in last place in the NL Central Division. Of course, they’re in the same Division as the Cubs and Cardinals, so keeping up with the Joneses is a tough requirement. They finished last season 68-94 (the Cubs were 103-58). After a lot of work this Spring, the Reds set their pitching rotation with Finnegan in the second spot.
ICYMI Here's your #Reds rotation to start the 2017 season:— Talking Reds (@RedsAnalysis) March 29, 2017
Many felt that Finnegan deserved the #1 spot and the season opener.
Why was Brandon Finnegan not our starter... ?— Austin Picone (@Pinecone_7) April 3, 2017
Brandon Finnegan and Scott Feldman seem to be the final two candidates for making an Opening Day start. Who do you want starting? #GoReds— Reds Baseball Take (@CincyRedsTake) March 19, 2017
Finnegan definitely has a strong fan following, and the #2 pitching spot isn’t a terrible place to be. In fact, it’s the same spot Arrieta currently holds with the Cubs. So stop freaking out, Reds fans! Sheesh. Finnegan posted 145 strikeouts in 175 innings last season, and a 3.98 ERA. Spring Training 2017 wasn’t phenomenal for him, with an ERA of 7.63 over 5 games. He had a 2.09 WHIP, posted 13 strikeouts, and allowed 14 runs on 23 hits (including 3 home runs). That being said, his 2016 Spring Training was about the same, so I’m not worried at this point, and Reds fans shouldn’t be, either. And if you ask the math-loving statistics people, they’ll tell you that Finnegan changed his pitching style last year and his numbers improved.
“Late last season Finnegan developed a changeup, which is a perfect compliment to his above average FB and SL. The changeup has really good movement, which resulted in 57% GB and a 16.5% SwStr. After increasing his CH usage in August and September, Finnegan posted a 2.47 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 26% K.” — Phil Double, insiderbaseball.com
We know you got this, Finny. And you’ve always got Micah on the mound with you, too. We wish you the best this season.
For more on Finnegan's 2017 season, you can go here.
Other names you might see this season:
Bryan Holaday — I really like Bryan Holaday. He has so many talents on the field — catching, pitching, playing left field — the kid really can do it all. But his batting last year left much to be desired. The Rangers utilized him a lot in April and May. But we saw less and less of him as the season continued. He was eventually traded to the Red Sox, which he left for the Phillies as a free agent. Now he’s back in Detroit with the Tigers, which is where he started before being here in Texas. But Holaday is a Dallas native, and I hated to see him leave the Rangers. He’s been sent to the minors for the Tigers, and I’m hopeful he’ll have a chance to work on his batting. His best numbers have come in Detroit, so hopefully his old team will give him a fresh start in 2017.
Matt Purke — As you can see from the stat below, Matt Purke didn’t do a terrible job in Spring Training. He’s been on the bubble for awhile, going back and forth between the MiLB and MLB. It’s not surprising that he’s been sent to the minors for the start of the season, but as we get deeper into 2017, I won’t be surprised to see him called up, especially if injuries plague the bullpen for the White Sox like last season.