Split-squad games today will feature some prospects!

Photo by Sol Tucker for Talknats

Today is one of those very busy days of baseball as we have not one, but two simultaneous games being played today in Grapefruit League split-squad action starting just minutes apart for the Washington Nationals. The Nats will play a home game at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches against their neighbors, the Houston Astros, with Trevor Williams on the mound. Behind Williams are the other three big offseason acquisitions in Dominic Smith, Jeimer Candelario, and Corey Dickerson. Of note, Williams’ middle infield will be former top prospect Jeter Downs (shortstop), and Jake Alu at second base. In the other game against the Mets in Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, the Nats projected opening day middle infielders of CJ Abrams and Luis Garcia will be at the road game behind Josiah Gray in a game against the Mets’ starting pitcher Max Scherzer.

Photo by Ray Mitten for TalkNats

Yesterday certainly provided some nice starts to Spring Training for several players, and that list starts with MacKenzie Gore and Abrams. For Gore’s one inning of work, the Nats got to see him face Cardinals’ starters in a dominant inning pumping fastballs with command to the inner edge of the strike zone at 95-96 MPH heat. His secondary pitches looked good too. That was nice to see at this point in the season. Abrams smacked a double off of lefty Genesis Cabrera in a two-strike count which was really nice to see. He had two hits on the day plus a stolen base and a run scored. We rattled off a few names of standouts in the game: A few other mentions after Jeremy De La Rosa, Jose Ferrer, Alu, and Matt Cronin could be Erasmo Ramirez, Stone Garrett, and Erick Mejia who had the game winning hit. In Spring Training, the sample sizes are small and it is looking at process many times over results. Early in the game, the wind was blowing in and certainly affected the game in the first few innings. Also, you have to look at matchups. Ferrer, for instance, was facing top prospects and struck-out Ivan Herrera and  Jordan Walker as well as getting Nolan Gorman on a weak groundout in some really good matchups. Garrett had a bloop hit, but many people wanted him on the list so we mentioned him. Of note, Cronin had a really solid inning and was only pitching from the stretch. This was something the team did to get him away from that “iron Mike” overhead delivery that advanced hitters just tee off on as they see the ball so well. Cronin looked really good compared to what we saw last year. Good swing action on his pitches, even though his velo was just touching 90 on his fastball.
Houston Astros vs. Washington Nationals Stadium: Ballpark of the Palm Beaches; West Palm Beach, Florida 1st Pitch: 1:05 pm EDT TV: AT&T Sportsnet Houston via the MLB TV app Radio: Nationals Radio Network and the MLB app
Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets Stadium:  Clover Park, Port St. Lucie, Florida 1st Pitch: 1:10 pm EDT TV:  SNY via the MLB app Radio: Mets Radio via the MLB app
Line-up subject to change (without notice):
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