Spring Training Game #3 and some more observations and quotes

The Nationals travel up the road in Palm Beach County for a game in Jupiter to face the St. Louis Cardinals as Tanner Roark gets the start against Lance Lynn. This game is set for 1:05pm at Roger Dean Stadium and like Sunday’s game, there is no television coverage, only radio on the Cardinals radio network.

Sunday’s game was significant as we got a feel for some of the player’s who should be ready for call-ups if needed mid-season like Erick Fedde (#2 prospect), Wilmer Difo, and Andrew Stevenson (#5 prospect). Fedde pitched two innings of 0.000 WHIP baseball with two strikeouts, Difo had a nice hit, and Andrew Stevenson shortened up his swing and made a productive out to add his 3rd RBI in just 5 plate appearances to lead the Nationals.

Sure, it’s only two games, and there is almost nothing these players can do to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster, but these players just need to impress all the eyes that are watching them from Dusty Baker to Mike Rizzo to the rest of the coaches and the scouts who are there to observe and rank these players.

Photo by Don H. for TalkNats

Erick Fedde struck out Brian Dozier and faced mostly Twins starters. This was not a tune-up against Single-A players. Fedde lit up the radar gun with 94-95mph velo with his fastballs, and one scout who had never seen Fedde before was impressed that he attacked the batters.

“He had good command,” Baker said about Fedde. “He was impressive.”

With Andrew Stevenson, he came up to the plate with one out and and runners on 3rd and 1st. He was thinking of making contact while hitting the ball to right-side. Stevenson tried not to do too much with it as he stepped up to the plate with a plan.

“Just hit something to the right side of the field so I can get the guy in [from 3rd base] and move the [other] runner up to second base,” Andrew Stevenson said. “Just trying to go up there each at-bat with a plan.”

Mission accomplished by these prospects. As Stevenson also told us that he is just trying to take this all in and have fun. Like many of these youngsters, they want to stay in big league camp as long as they can and make it difficult on management to cut them.

Spencer Kieboom is another youngster in camp who has the same idea of just enjoying these moments and not adding stress, but for players on the bubble, you feel like the stress is unavoidable, or is it? Joe Nathan on Saturday commented that he was just throwing free and easy. That might not be the same for Clint Robinson who botched a grounder that blew up the second inning on Sunday leading to four runs on A.J. Cole‘s ledger.

The only real fights for jobs on the Opening Day roster appear to be for the last bench spot and possibly two spots in the bullpen. If you consider the bench will be made up of the #2 catcher, Stephen Drew, Chris Heisey, and Adam Lind, then that leaves just one more spot that most likely will go to an outfielder.

Ever since 2012 when the Nationals became a contender, the rosters were almost etched in stone before spring training started except for bench and bullpen spots, but we have seen surprises before like 2012 when Ross Detwiler took the 5th spot in the rotation over John Lannan at the end of camp which leads to that old saying of “you never know”.

For today’s game, here are the line-ups and to state Captain Obvious: “No Ryan Zimmerman or Jayson Werth on the line-up card today” which simply could mean they are working on the minor league side today. At some point, expect a beat writer to ask Dusty Baker where they are and Matt Wieters who was a few days behind the rest.

  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Bryce Harper RF
  3. Daniel Murphy 2B
  4. Anthony Rendon 3B
  5. Adam Lind 1B
  6. Adam Eaton CF
  7. Chris Heisey LF
  8. Donovan Solano C
  9. Derek Norris DH

Tanner Roark P

And the video below (not set to autoload as it is not small) is all of the pictures DonH took packaged into a video courtesy of Microsoft Movie Maker. And apologies for the quality of some of them. The sun was right behind the seats and it made it difficult to see the display and frame them properly.

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