The Seattle Mariners are the only team to report to spring training thus far (due to their two-game spring training trip to Tokyo), but some notables pieces of news have begun to trickle out as spring approaches.
—Matt Harvey, the Mets’ 2010 first-round pick who tore up the Florida State League last season and held his own in Double-A, has added a two-seamer to his arsenal. Baseball America, in its Top-10 prospects write-up (subscription needed), notes that Harvey already throws a two-seamer, but if he says he’s adding one, then I’ll assume that he didn’t throw too many last season.
As a pitcher with plus velocity but a lack of fastball command, how he takes to the two-seamer could end up being the difference between him remaining a starter down the road and a possible move to the bullpen, where he could no doubt be a strong late-inning reliever.
—Another pitcher whose future role is still up in the air is Jordan Swagerty of the St. Louis Cardinals. A reliever in college, Swagerty began last year as a starter, but finished in the bullpen when the Cardinals wanted to curtail his innings pitched. Entering 2012, Swagerty will once again be working as a starter, with the Cardinals planning to leave him in that role as long as he has success. Swagerty uses four pitches, so if he can fully develop them he has the potential to be a starter.
—The Cardinals signed two international free agents this week. The first is Dominican right-hander Andres Serrano, who Baseball America describes as a 6-foot-3 17-year-old who throws between 90-95 mph. Serrano signed for a reported $750,000. Just two days later, the team announced the signing of a 17-year-old left hander from the Dominican, Erick Hurtado. His signing bonus was not announced, but reports have him as more raw than Serrano, so it is reasonable to expect that it was significantly less.
—Reports coming out of the only spring training camp under way so far are saying that left-hander James Paxton has been impressive in his first couple of bullpen sessions. The Mariners rotation is crowded, with as many as seven potential starters competing for rotation spots (Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargus, Kevin Millwood, Hisashi Iwakuma, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan and Charlie Furbush), but this is the team that let Michael Pineda jump to the majors despite limited minor league experience, so nothing can be ruled out completely.
References & Resources