Tuesday's top Spring Training prospect performers
Here's a look at Tuesday's top performers at Spring Training from each team's Top 30 Prospects list.
Royals: Bobby Witt Jr., 3B (MLB No. 1)
Angel Zerpa, LHP
Austin Cox, LHP
Baseball’s top prospect hammered a two-run homer to left-center in the bottom of the sixth inning for his first blast of the season. Witt’s first three Spring Training games have been good ones with the young infielder going 3-for-7 with a double in addition to his Tuesday homer. Last season, Witt split 123 games between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, batting a combined .290 with a .361 on-base percentage and .575 slugging percentage, belting 33 homers and driving in 97.
On the mound, lefties Zerpa and Cox were dominant over four combined innings. Zerpa retired all six batters he faced in two innings with a strikeout while Cox fanned three of the six he saw over two perfect frames of his own.
Mariners: Julio Rodríguez, OF (MLB No. 3)
In the bottom of the first inning, the top Mariners prospect connected on an RBI double to left field, his first two-bagger of the spring. One batter later, Rodríguez scored on another double, this one to right field by Eugenio Suárez. Baseball’s third-ranked overall prospect put together a brilliant 2021 season between High-A Everett and Double-A Arkansas, batting .347/.441/.561 with 13 homers sand 47 RBIs in 74 games. The young outfielder also won a bronze medal with the Dominican Republic at the Tokyo Olympics.
Twins: Joe Ryan, RHP (MLB No. 97)
Jovani Moran, RHP
Ryan got the starting nod in his spring debut and scattered three hits with one strikeout in two scoreless frames. The 25-year-old worked around two singles in the first and another in the second while tossing 17 of his 21 pitches for strikes. Obtained in a midseason trade with the Rays, Ryan went a combined 4-3 with a 3.41 ERA while fanning 92 in 66 innings across 14 appearances (13 starts) with Triple-A Durham and St. Paul. The San Francisco, Calif., native made four late-season starts for the Twins and posted a 4.05 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.
Moran rebounded from a rough spring debut to strike out three in his lone inning of work. The 24-year-old issued a walk but threw 14 of his 20 pitches for strikes. Moran carved out a 2.41 ERA in 41 appearances across two Minor League levels last season, fanning 109 in 67 1/3 innings while limiting opponents to a .124 average. He was rewarded with a September callup and appeared in five games for Minnesota.
Orioles: Kyle Stowers, OF
Stowers made his first hit of the spring count, launching a two-run homer as part of Baltimore’s 16-hit, 10-run onslaught. The 24-year-old also walked and scored twice, leaving him 1-for-10 in early Grapefruit League action. Stowers is looking to replicate his 2021 campaign, a year that saw the 2019 Draft pick go deep 27 times while batting .278 with 85 RBIs and a .897 OPS with High-A Aberdeen, Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.
Dodgers: Michael Busch, 2B
James Outman, OF
Coming off the bench, Busch went 2-for-3 and scored a run for Los Angeles while Outman belted a two-run homer in the eighth inning and added a sacrifice fly in the ninth to finish his afternoon 2-for-2 with three RBIs. Both spent time at Double-A Tulsa last season, Outman playing 39 games there to go along with 65 at High-A Great Lakes. The outfielder batted .266/.379/.490 with 18 homers and 21 RBIs in his 104 games. Busch played all 107 games in his 2021 season with the Drillers and hit .267/.386/.484, hammering 20 homers and adding 27 doubles.
Cardinals: Brendan Donovan, INF
It didn’t seem like it at the time, but Donovan’s first home run of the Grapefruit League slate turned out to be the key hit for the Cardinals. The 25-year-old is coming off the best season of his professional career after batting .304/.399/.455 with 34 extra-base hits, 66 RBIs and 19 stolen bases across three Minor League levels in 2021. Donovan is 2-for-10 through his first four games this spring.
Rangers: A.J. Alexy, RHP
Ricky Vanasco, RHP
Strong pitching led the Rangers to a 4-1 win over the Royals in which Texas only allowed four hits, and prospects Alexy and Vanasco were among the best of the day. Alexy allowed just one hit and one walk while notching a strikeout in two relief innings, and Vanasco finished off the victory for his team by retiring all three batters he faced and picking up the save in a perfect ninth inning.