It’s March, and you know what that means; time for some meaningless baseball for a month to get you ready for the season. The games don’t count, and you don’t pay much attention to the limited amount of time the veterans and starters play as they get ramped up for the season.
There are however some battles for bench spots, back of the rotation spots, and bullpen slots. These battles can make for some interesting story lines, and gives us a chance to take a look at some of the players that are making a splash this spring. It’s also one of the rare times you get to see the best prospects on TV and facing MLB level opposition. This will be the first of 2 articles covering the players to watch this spring. Next week will have a second part covering the pitchers. So who are the hitters tearing things up so far?
Stefan Romero is a player who’s been up and down with the big league club the last couple of years. He hasn’t been consistent enough at the big league level to see regular playing time, but this year he has been moved from the outfield role he has been playing to a more natural position for him at first base. This appears to be paying some dividends, as he is tearing it up so far. He has started the spring 12/25 in 11 games.
Romero is making a strong case to make the roster as the right handed counterpart to Adam Lind once the season starts. The only thing holding him back is the fact that he has an option left, which means he can be sent down to Tacoma without being released. The guys he is competing with are Jesus Montero and newly signed Korean slugger Dae-Ho Lee. Montero is out of options, and Lee has a clause in his contract that makes him a free agent if he does not make the big league club. This may limit the options for the club come decision time.
Luis Sardinas has been another stand out so far. He is a young prospect fighting for the role of utility infielder with Chris Taylor. He has started the spring on a 13 for 36 tear, with a home run, a double and a couple steals. It’s quite possible both these young guys will end up on the opening day roster, so keep your eye on them the rest of the spring.
The Mariners look to be a team poised to break out this season. The question remains though to see if they can reach their potential in an extremely even American League. Next week we will take a look at the pitching situation heading into the start of the season.