- Jim Bowden, ESPN Insider
Spring training performances and statistics can be very misleading. Often major league hitters are facing minor league pitchers, or sometimes major league pitchers are simply working on refining a certain pitch and get hammered. When scouting hitters in person it’s almost more important to pay attention to the pitcher the hitters are facing and where the pitches are in the zone. Honestly, no one cares if a guy hits a home run off an 88 mph fastball down the middle of the plate. However, if that same guy goes yard on an inside fastball off of Justin Verlander or a nasty slider down and away off of David Price, it matters.
This was the first time I spent spring training watching entirely the Cactus League in Arizona. While young players such as Aaron Hicks, Julio Teheran and Jackie Bradley Jr. impressed scouts across the country in the Grapefruit League, six particular players in Arizona impressed me. They performed far beyond what I was expecting, and I’m intrigued to see if they can maintain the brilliance they displayed this spring.