Here are some of the stories that I’ve been tracking in my Spring Training Notebook. Camps have gotten underway across Major League Baseball.

There’s no doubting that George Springer was the Blue Jays biggest offseason acquisition. The one I’m most fascinated with, however, is Marcus Semien. He’s had a really good career with one spectacular season in 2019.

 It was kinda like Homer Simpson saving the power plant. It worked but can he do it again?

Thinking about Semien’s breakthrough season got me thinking. Where does it rank among the best WAR seasons among active players? Well, I geeked out and looked it up.

  1. Mookie Betts 10.6 (2018)
  2. Mike Trout 10.5 (2012)
  3. Trout 10.5 (2016)
  4. Bryce Harper 9.7 (2015)
  5. Albert Pujols 9.7 (2009)
  6. Trout 9.6 (2015)
  7. Betts 9.5 (2016)
  8. Pujols 9.2 (2008)
  9. Cody Bellinger 9.1 (2019)
  10. Alex Bregman 9.1 (2019)

And that’s it. Semien’s 8.9 WAR in 2019 tied him with Trout’s 2013 season. Looking through this list made me think Bregman or Semien probably should’ve won the AL MVP in 2019. Trout recorded an 8.2 WAR that season. His team was out of the race by June as usual.

Trout was voted first (again) by MLB Network. I think it should’ve been Betts but I don’t get a lot of people to agree with me. Trout is great but his team is consistently irrelevant.

Mr. Anderson

Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is not a player who lacks confidence. He provided some bulletin board material for the Minnesota Twins with his comments recently.

That’s great, Tim. It also has a “my dad is tougher than you dad” kind of feel to it. A phrase I’m sure many of us have heard on the playground.

Anderson’s recent comments had a middle school feel to them.

Also, it’s baseball, not football or basketball. The most athletic team doesn’t always win.

Athletic Additions

The Oakland Athletics made a couple of impressive late adds to their roster last week. They signed veteran relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal and 1B/DH Mitch Moreland. Rosenthal is coming off a season that saw him pitch to a 1.90 ERA in 23 appearances for the Royals and Padres.

For me, Moreland is one of the most underrated players in MLB. He’s hit at least 15 home runs eight years in a row (he had 10 in 42 games last season) and should fit into an A’s roster that always seems to maximize their talent.

Rays Lurking

The Tampa Bay Rays have had an interesting offseason. They let Charlie Morton walk, traded Blake Snell, and brought back former ace Chris Archer. They added to that intrigue with a pair of trades last week.

First, they sent catching prospect Renaldo Hernández and minor league infielder Nick Sogard to the Red Sox. In exchange, they received Chris Mazza (RHP) and Jeffrey Springs (LHP), who were both fairly unimpressive last season.

The Rays then sent right-handed reliever John Curtiss to the Marlins for first-base prospect Evan Edwards. Oliver Drake was also re-signed.

Curtiss was a big part of their run to the World Series last year but I’ve watched the Rays for too long to question their judgment. They’ll find a way to get the most out of Mazza and Springs.

Last Outs

Happy to see Shane Bieber back at Cleveland’s camp, fully recovered from a bout with COVID-19. He’s a big reason why I think they won’t fall off the face of the earth this season.

Ugly but entertaining interaction between Trevor Bauer and Noah Sydergaard.

Thanks for reading my Spring Training Notebook. Check out more of my articles and other belly-up content. Follow me on Twitter.
About Author

Graeme Wallace

My name is Graeme Wallace and I love Blue Jays baseball! I grew up with the World Series Championship teams in '92 and '93. There were some lean years in between but some good ones too, all leading up to Jose Bautista's epic bat flip in 2015. I'm so excited to be on the Blue Jays beat for Belly Up Sports!

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