With less than a week to go until Opening Day, most starting pitchers around the league have had at least four or five starts and have given us a decent sample size by which to judge their early season form.
While spring training stats ultimately mean nothing, a good spring can be the beginning of a magical season while a bad March can get you booted off the Big League club. Just ask Javier Baez. Let’s take a look at who’s already posting eye-opening numbers and what we can expect from them once the games actually count.
Taijuan Walker (SEA): A post-hype sleeper, Walker was limited to just 38 innings last year with an injury and, while he pitched well, failed to live up to the hype. This season the former top-5 prospect is poised to make good on his potential, pitching 18 scoreless innings this March while allowing just six hits, four walks, and striking out 19.
Kendall Graveman (OAK): Graveman is all-but-certain to win a rotation spot with the A’s after allowing just one run and 14 baserunners across 21.1 innings. Graveman only pitched 37 games in the minors before getting the call to the Bigs last season with Toronto and was one of the key pieces in the deal that sent Josh Donaldson to Canada.
David Phelps (MIA): The former Yankee is trying to win a rotation spot in Miami and has made a strong case so far, allowing just two earned runs through 18 innings. He’s only allowed 17 baserunners so far and struck out 14.
Marco Gonzales (STL): Even if Gonzales fails to win the fifth starter job with the Cards, this is a name to remember. A top-50 prospect entering this season, Gonzales has allowed just two runs through 17.1 innings this spring. He’s rocketed through the minors with a 2.48 ERA in just 29 games and the 23-year-old figures to be a big part of the rotation sooner than later.
Asher Wojciechowski (HOU): This is another name to remember, even if you can’t quite pronounce it. Making his case for the Astros’ fifth starter job, Woj has surrendered just two earned runs in 16.2 innings while striking out 13 and walking just four.
Matt Andriese (TB): After three solid seasons in the minors, Andriese has impressed this spring in his bid for the fifth starter job in Tampa, allowing just two earned runs across 16.1 innings. He has allowed 20 baserunners, though, and often struggled to keep runners off base in the minors.
Max Scherzer (WAS): While most of the other guys are competing for a spot, Scherzer has already sewn up his job for the next seven years but is already in mid-season form. Through 20 innings this March, Scherzer has given up just three runs while striking out 23 and walking just one. If you thought he was good in Detroit, wait til you see what he does in the NL East.
Jordan Zimmermann (WAS): In a preview of what’s to come for the fearsome Nats rotation, Zimmermann has matched efforts with Scherzer, allowing just three earned runs in 19.2 innings while striking out 15 and walking just four.
Matt Harvey (NYM): Harvey hasn’t lost a beat after missing all of 2014 to recover from Tommy John surgery. In 18.2 innings this spring, Harvey has allowed just three earned runs while striking out 17 and walking just one.