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Jason Hunt takes a look back at some of the prospect performances that were available to watch from the second half of this week's spring training games, including performances by Aaron Hicks, Dylan Bundy, and Kevin Gausman.
With more Spring Training games in the books, a number of prospects have been receiving significant playing time, and more than a few of the top prospects in the minors were able to be seen on MLB.tv. As the spring progresses, we will probably see less and less of these prospects as the World Baseball Classic winds down and teams start sending their prospects to minor league camp. The first group of top prospects were sent down over the weekend, and there's a brief list of them at the end of the post.
Aaron Hicks (MIN - OF) - Viewed in Thursday, March 7th's game
Have a day, Aaron Hicks. He feasted on Phillies' pitching on Thursday, and finished up with a 4 hit game including 3 home runs and 6 runs batted in. Two of the home runs were to right field, which the commentators both noted that had a practical jet stream out that way. Those two looked more like long fly balls off the bat, but the home run he hit to left field in between was a legitimate shot out there. He hit all three home runs from the right side, and added a 2-run single from the left side in his final at bat. Hicks should definitely be watched for most deeper formats, as he is still in the running for the starting center field job for the Twins. Craig wrote about him more in-depth on Saturday, advising caution about what you should expect, and I would agree.
Dylan Bundy (BAL - SP) - Viewed in Saturday, March 9th's game
Bundy threw two innings against the Red Sox on Saturday night, and he looked a bit like a pitcher still getting ready in Spring Training. His ending line was a single strikeout, two walks, a hit, and an unearned run on a Conor Jackson error. Looking at the stuff itself, Bundy was sitting 90-92 with his fastball, also mixing in a breaking ball as well as a changeup a few times each. He was struggling with his command somewhat at times, overthrowing slightly, but seemed more like it was just a matter of being still in early March. Bundy isn't expected to win a rotation spot out of Spring Training, but he is definitely worth stashing in deeper leagues, as he could be up by midseason potentially.
Kevin Gausman (BAL - SP) - Viewed in Saturday, March 9th's game
While Bundy looked good at times, Gausman was extremely impressive in the first outing of his I have seen. Gausman threw three innings, striking out three and allowing just two hits. In terms of stuff, Gausman was sitting 91-94 and touching 95 with his fastball, mixing in a very advanced changeup in the mid-80s and a very good crisp breaking ball as well. His command was excellent, freezing hitters on a couple different occasions for strikeouts on what definitely appeared to be pitchers' pitches. The delivery looked easy, and it's easy to see what made him the 4th overall pick last year. Gausman could start the season at AA again, and could be in Baltimore by season's end.
Other Prospect Notes:
- As expected, Zack Wheeler will start the season in AAA after being optioned to the minors on Sunday.
- Other prospects of note that were sent back to minor league camp over the weekend included Austin Hedges (SD), Sonny Gray (OAK), Ethan Martin (PHI), Matt Szczur (CHC), Alex Meyer (MIN), George Springer (HOU), Delino DeShields (HOU), and Zack Cox (MIA).