Prospect Star Of Camp: Since Brian Matusz still qualifies as a prospect, albeit barely, it's hard to give this one to anyone else. He was already a shoo-in to make the Orioles' rotation, but he did nothing to dispel the excitement surrounding him with his Grapefruit League performance. The fourth overall pick of the 2008 draft made five starts and posted a 3.10 ERA with a 19-3 K-BB ratio in 20 1/3 innings. His spring was highlighted when he threw 5 1/3 no-hit innings against the Phillies on March 19. On the offensive side, first baseman Brandon Snyder acquitted himself well, hitting .333/.478/.556 (6-for-18) and impressing with his defense at first base, an area he's improved significantly in recent years, in limited action before being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Keep An Eye On: He only made two appearances in Grapefruit League action, but righthander Luis Lebron made a favorable impression on O's manager Dave Trembley. The 25-year-old reliever pitched 1 2/3 innings with two strikeouts and one hit allowed, both appearances coming against the Pirates. Trembley was taken with Lebron's fastball that sits in the mid-90s and tops out at 97 mph, making him a strong candidate for a callup at some point in 2010. Lebron, who had pitched just two innings above high Class A before last year, is coming off a dominant 2009 season in which he went a combined 3-3, 2.54 in 60 1/3 innings with Frederick and Double-A Bowie.
A Rough Spring: Third baseman Josh Bell, the Orioles' top position prospect, wasn't expected to make the big club anyway, but his first extended taste of big league spring training could've gone better. Bell's spring started with a bang, as he homered twice against the Rays in his Grapefruit League debut, but went downhill from there. He finished with a .226/.306/.419 (7-for-31) line with 11 strikeouts, with those two long balls being his only extra-base hits. He still should make it to Baltimore by the end of the year, but he'll head to Norfolk for some more seasoning in the meantime.
BOSTON RED SOX
Prospect Star Of Camp: Casey Kelly's Grapefruit League appearances garnered more national attention, but outfielder Josh Reddick hit balls hard all spring and finished with a .390/.413/.678 line in 59 at-bats. He put together a nine-game hitting streak at one point and his .390 average was second best on the team among players with at least 20 at-bats. Unfortunately for Reddick, the Red Sox already had Jeremy Hermida on board for their fourth outfielder's job and all Hermida did was hit .450/.500/.650 in the spring. That means Reddick will have to settle for taking his hot bat to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Keep An Eye On: Kelly made just two appearances in big league games, but the 20-year-old righthander was still the buzz of camp. Kelly pitched five innings in all and allowed two runs on four hits while striking out five, and showed off the polish and advanced feel for his age that made him the organization's top pitching prospect entering the year.
A Rough Spring: The Red Sox saw two of their best prospects come down with significant ailments. Foremost was top prospect Ryan Westmoreland, the 19-year-old outfielder who needed surgery to remove a cavernous malformation from his brain. It's unknown when Westmoreland will get back on the field, but it certainly won't be soon. Towards the end of camp, righthander Junichi Tazawa came down with tightness in his elbow that turned out to be a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, necessitating season-ending Tommy John surgery. Before going down, Tazawa, who would've begun the year in Pawtucket, pitched in five Grapefruit League games and sported a 10.29 ERA in seven innings of work.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Prospect Star Of Camp: The Yankees had already cleared the backup catcher's job for Francisco Cervelli when they let Jose Molina walk as a free agent after last season, but Cervelli went and had the most productive camp of any of their young players anyway. Despite being knocked out of action for a week after being beaned in the head by a pitch on March 6 and being bothered by a hamstring problem late in camp, Cervelli hit .344/.432/.469 in 32 at-bats. Righthander Mark Melancon got a taste of the majors last year and held his own in big league camp this year, fanning 10 while allowing two runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings of action. He'll head to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to be the closer there.
Keep An Eye On: Outfielder Colin Curtis hit a walk-off home run against the Pirates in the Yankees' Grapefruit League opener and went on to go 6-for-12 with two homers and eight RBIs before being sent down. The 25-year-old, who was a fourth-round pick in 2006 from Arizona State, put himself in the conversation for a big league callup if the Yankees' outfield gets hit with injuries.
A Rough Spring: Outfielder Jamie Hoffman, the No. 1 overall pick in last December's Rule 5 draft, hit just .130/.259/.174 (3-for-23) and was returned to the Dodgers. Catching prospect Austin Romine might've been trying to do a bit too much and struggled to a .214/.214/.214 (3-for-14) line in 10 appearances. He'll head to Double-A Trenton.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
Prospect Star Of Camp: Reid Brignac beat out former big league all-star Hank Blalock for the last spot on the Rays' big league roster, where he'll share time at second base with Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez. Brignac, who's appeared in 35 big league games over the last two seasons, showed an improved approach and put together a sterling .350/.359/.450 batting line over 60 at-bats. He led the Rays with 18 RBIs and played error-free defense at shortstop and second base.
Keep An Eye On: Fernando Perez was a prime candidate to be the Rays' fourth outfielder last year before a left wrist injury derailed his season before it began. The injury was the result of an attempted diving catch in spring training and eventually led to his needing shoulder surgery as well. Perez shook off the rust this spring, hitting .316/.300/.421 (6-for-19) in 10 big league games before being optioned to Triple-A Durham. A weapon off the bench for the Rays in their run to the 2008 World Series, he should be a prime candidate for another big league callup if he continues hitting against Triple-A competition.
A Rough Spring: Righthander Wade Davis made the Rays' big league rotation despite having an up-and-down spring. Davis' command came and went during his six Grapefruit League appearances as he gave up 31 hits and 14 walks in 21 1/3 innings of action, putting up a 7.17 ERA. He was especially roughed up by the Twins on March 21, giving up nine hits and seven runs (five earned) in just two innings of work. Davis faced Minnesota again in his final spring start and fared much better, going six innings and allowing two runs on four hits, though he also walked four.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Prospect Star Of Camp: Few of the Blue Jays' high profile prospects received much Grapefruit League playing time. Second baseman Brad Emaus was one of the handful of Jays youngsters to get much action and made the most of it. The 24-year-old Emaus, who's coming off a 2009 season in which he hit .253/.336/.376 at Double-A New Hampshire, batted .400/.478/.500 in 40 spring at-bats. Emaus, who will have to rely primarily on his bat to carry him, will try to keep it going as he heads back to New Hampshire to open the year. Triple-A veteran Mike McCoy, a 29-year-old with five games of major league experience, made the big club as a reserve middle infielder. McCoy hit .307/.405/.400 with Colorado Springs in the Rockies organization last year before the Jays picked him up on waivers in November. He earned a spot in Toronto after batting .400/.486/.433 in 30 spring at-bats, beating out the more experienced Jeremy Reed in the process.
Keep An Eye On: While Roy Halladay was gearing up to be the Phillies' Opening Day starter, two of the three prospects the Jays got in return made cameos in Grapefruit League action. Righthander Kyle Drabek made two appearances, including a start against the Phillies on March 10 in which he allowed one hit over two scoreless innings. Third baseman Brett Wallace, who came over in a related deal from the A's for outfielder Michael Taylor, got into only three games and went 1-for-9. Wallace will open the season in Triple-A, where he finished last year hitting .297/.354/.460 between stints with Memphis and Sacramento. The Jays will keep Drabek out of the launching pad that is Vegas' Cashman Field by sending him to New Hampshire. Both should be in Toronto by year's end.
A Rough Spring: J.P. Arencibia homered in each of his first three appearances, then had only one more base hit the rest of the spring. He'll head back to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he hit .236/.284/.444 last year, after finishing the spring with a .190/.182/.619 (4-for-21) line. Veterans John Buck and Jose Molina will keep the Jays' catching job warm until Arencibia's ready.
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