Nathan Eovaldi’s first full season with the Red Sox was a forgettable one. He seemed to take his frustrations out on the Twins in his first Grapefruit League outing on Monday.
Eovaldi looked to be in midseason form in firing two scoreless frames while fanning four batters. The hard-throwing right-hander didn’t ease up on the velocity early on in exhibition play, as he topped out at 100 mph on the radar gun.
The 30-year-old is a total wild card heading into the 2020 campaign after he posted a 5.99 ERA over just 67 2/3 innings during his injury-shortened 2019 season. Durability has often been an issue with Eovaldi, of course, as he hasn’t even thrown 200 innings at the major league level over the last three years combined.
The good news is Eovaldi’s draft day cost has been reflective of his uncertain outlook, as his ADP in NFBC leagues currently sits outside the top 350. If he continues to look good this spring, he could be a worthy late-round gamble in hopes that he can recapture his dynamic form from late in the 2018 regular season and playoffs.
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Yoshi Goes Yard
When the Rays signed Yoshitomo Tsutsugo to a two-year, $12 million contract back in December, the hope was that he could be an impact bat. The very early returns suggest that “Yoshi” might be just that.
Tsutsugo launched his first Grapefruit League home run on Monday in the Rays’ tie against the Red Sox. The Japanese slugger also drew a walk and has now reached base in each of his first four plate appearances this spring.
Of note is that Yoshi’s bomb came off of left-hander Jeffrey Springs. That’s a big deal because the general feeling is that the left-handed swinging Tsutsugo is probably going to be on the bench most days when the opposition is starting a southpaw.
One Grapefruit League dinger isn’t going to change the Rays’ minds, of course. They’re a club that is always looking for every platoon advantage. However, the best way for Tsutsugo to play more against lefties is to show he can hit lefties.
“We’re not going to weigh too much into anything. I think we’re all really happy with the presence that he has when he walks up to the plate and the discipline that he has to lay off tight pitches,” said manager Kevin Cash. “He’s been pitched pretty tight, but he’s not going off the plate trying to expand with the pitcher. That’s the most encouraging thing.”
Tsutsugo started Monday’s game at the designated hitter spot after starting his first spring contest in left field. He will get the day off on Tuesday before starting at third base on Wednesday. The former Nippon Professional Baseball star is in line to bounce around to multiple positions for the Rays in addition to seeing starts at DH.
Manaea Gets Rocked
Sean Manaea’s 2019 season ended on a sour note when he was lit up in the A’s AL Wild Card Game loss to the Rays. Unfortunately, his 2020 Cactus League debut didn’t go any better.
Manaea got through a perfect first inning against a split-squad Brewers lineup on Monday, but the wheels then fell off in the second inning. The left-hander faced eight batters in the second and six of them reached base, with all of them coming around to score. He served up home runs to Lucas Erceg and Orlando Arcia, the latter of which officially KO’d him from the game.
We’re not going to read much into one spring training start, of course, and Manaea’s velocity in the outing was fine.
The southpaw missed most of the 2019 season after making his way back from shoulder surgery. He was dynamite after returning, putting up a 1.21 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and 30/7 K/BB ratio across 29 2/3 frames. It was encouraging to see Manaea missing so many bats since that hasn’t been a strength of his. Using more sliders and fewer changeups could have been the key.
While Manaea threw just 68 frames last season, the A’s do not plan to have him on a strict innings limit in 2020. That doesn’t mean they won’t be keeping a close eye on his workload, of course. Manaea is currently the No. 65 pitcher going off the board in NFBC leagues.
Quick Hits: Aaron Boone told reporters on Monday that there's no specific date yet for when Aaron Judge (shoulder) returns … Yasmani Grandal (calf) isn't expected to play in Cactus League action for another 7-10 games, according to White Sox manager Rick Renteria … Mike Soroka (groin) said he felt good after throwing an inning of live BP on Monday … Gerrit Cole hurled a scoreless inning with one walk and two strikeouts in his Grapefruit League debut on Monday against the Pirates … Khris Davis (calf) will make his Cactus League debut on Tuesday against the Padres … Stephen Piscotty said Monday that he's dealing with a strain on his left side … Jesse Winker said Monday that X-rays showed no fracture in his left wrist … Chris Archer was scratched from Monday's Grapefruit League start due to neck tightness … Angels manager Joe Maddon said Monday that it's a "pretty safe bet" that Hansel Robles will begin the year as the team's closer … Brock Burke will undergo season-ending surgery repair fraying and a partial tear of his left labrum … Jordan Montgomery was able to throw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts on Monday in his Grapefruit League appearance against the Pirates … Albert Almora went 3-for-3 with a home run, four RBI, and two runs scored as the Cubs beat the Mariners 16-12 in Cactus League play on Monday … Orlando Arcia went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI as the Brewers earned a 14-4 victory over the Athletics on Monday in Cactus League play … Marco Gonzales surrendered five earned runs over just two-thirds of an inning Monday in his Cactus League debut against the Cubs … Nelson Cruz went 2-for-3 and hit a two-run homer as the Twins topped a Red Sox split-squad 3-2 on Monday … Lonnie Chisenhall recently decided to retire from his playing career.