Future shortstops dazzle in Cactus League

March 7th, 2021

Saturday was a good day for 20-year-old shortstops of the future.

No. 7 overall prospect Bobby Witt Jr. launched his first Spring Training home run for the Royals, while No. 8 CJ Abrams showed off several tools in a Padres’ win over the Dodgers.

Witt’s blast came with one on and one out in the third inning against the Giants. Facing right-hander Tyler Rogers, he unleashed a monster shot that cleared the center-field wall 430 feet from home plate. It was Witt’s first extra-base hit in his seventh Cactus League appearance.

The second overall pick from the 2019 Draft also singled and scored in the sixth to earn his first multi-hit outing of the spring, surely no surprise to a Royals club that saw him routinely outperform his age at the alternate training site last season. Witt has gone 5-for-15 so far this spring with one walk and two strikeouts.

Abrams, meanwhile, collected one of the Padres’ two hits off Dodgers right-hander Trevor Bauer, then made the most of the opportunity by swiping second. The 2019 sixth-overall pick also showed off his glove by snaring a line drive and doubling up Matt Beaty at second to get San Diego out of a bases-loaded jam.

More top prospect performers from Saturday's action:

Tarik Skubal (MLB No. 24)
Skubal impressed in his first outing of Spring Training as he twirled a pair of scoreless frames. The 24-year-old lefty did yield a hit, but also struck out two in his brief appearance. Skubal made his Major League debut last season and posted a 5.63 ERA over eight games (seven starts). Gameday »

Garrett Crochet, LHP, CWS (MLB No. 56)
Results are good, and the White Sox will take a scoreless inning with one hit allowed from Crochet, the 11th overall pick in last summer’s Draft. But it was good just to see Crochet on the mound throwing heaters in his Cactus League debut with no pain in his left arm. The 21-year-old exited Game 3 of the American League Wild Card Series last fall with left forearm tightness, but said after Saturday’s action that he feels good. Gameday »

Ronny Mauricio, SS, NYM (MLB No. 67)
The 19-year-old entered as a defensive replacement for Francisco Lindor in the fifth, but made his mark on the Mets' win over the Astros on the other side of the ball in the sixth. Mauricio singled off Houston southpaw Ryan Hartman to drive home Pete Crow-Amstrong for his first RBI in five Grapefruit League games this spring. Gameday »

Taylor Trammell, OF, SEA (MLB No. 100)
Trammell scored the Mariners only run of the afternoon, doubling in the fifth and advancing the rest of the way thanks to a fielding error and a Luis Torrens sacrifice fly. The 23-year-old, now with his third organization, has three extra-base hits in eight at-bats this spring. He also made a strong sliding grab in center field to rob Oakland’s Greg Deichmann of a hit. Gameday »

Nivaldo Rodriguez, RHP, HOU
The 23-year-old did allow an earned run on a walk and two hits in his two innings against the Mets, but five of his six outs were recorded via the strikeout. Rodriguez fanned the side in order in the third, besting the heart of New York’s lineup in Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso. This was the right-handers second outing of the spring; he threw two scoreless frames against the Nationals on March 1. Gameday »

Adonis Medina, RHP, PHI
In his second outing of the spring, Medina retired three straight batters after a leadoff single by George Springer in the first inning, Medina’s only frame on the mound. The 24-year-old, who made his Major League debut last year in a spot start against the Blue Jays, also worked a 1-2-3 inning against Toronto on March 2. Gameday »

Enyel De Los Santos, RHP, PHI
It’s hard to ask for a better bounceback than the one De Los Santos turned in. After surrendering a home run in his first appearance this spring, the 25-year-old faced the top of the Blue Jays order -- George Springer, Bo Bichette and Marcus Semien -- and struck out all three batters on Saturday. De Los Santos is throwing harder this spring than he has in the past, with his fastball up to 96 mph after averaging 93.3 mph in 2019. Gameday »

Daulton Jefferies, RHP, OAK
The 25-year-old got the start and struck out three while allowing just one hit and walking none over two innings. It was his second outing of the spring, following a perfect inning against the Dodgers on Feb. 28. Jefferies looks sharp after a brief, but rocky debut with the A’s last season. Gameday »

Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, NYM
If there was any doubt as to whether Crow-Armstrong is the fastest prospect in the Mets system, the result of his only at-bat Saturday probably quelled it. The 2020 first-rounder raced for a triple -- his first Grapefruit League knock -- in the sixth inning and was knocked in by Ronny Mauricio for New York’s sixth and final run in a win over the Astros. Gameday »

Yermin Mercedes, C, CWS
The 28-year-old cleared the bases with a double in the third inning against Cleveland. In four Cactus League games this spring, Mercedes has five RBIs and is 4-for-9 with two doubles. Gameday »