We are nine days away from every baseball fan's favorite day of the year and that is Opening Day. The Rangers are five days away from closing up the 2023 camp and heading east to Arlington to finish up Spring Training and kick off the 2023 season. It was a good week as the entire rotation is back and healthy. All members of the rotation will be in camp this week as Martin Perez and Venezuela were eliminated by the United States on Saturday night in a classic. I wrote about that last week if you want to read about the start by Perez. Here is the last Spring Training edition of 3 up, 3 down, and 3 things to watch for.
1. Robbie Grossman
He earns the number one spot, much like he earned being named the starting left-fielder by manager Bruce Bochy. He has been really good at all phases of the game. He made a diving play in left field on Monday. He continues to get on-base and has even stolen 3 bases. So far this spring he has put up a .382 batting average, a .488 on-base percentage, and two home runs. There will be no platoon as Bruce Bochy feels comfortable with him from both sides of the plate. He is the big winner of the week.
2. Nathan Eovaldi
It is not just that he was back on the mound in an "A" game. It is not just that he pitched well in that game. It is the high-90's velocity that has returned that puts him on this list. Last season with the variety of injuries he saw his velocity dip down to 95.7 last season. That was a significant drop from past seasons when he was around 97-98mph. The media covering the game last week said he was regularly hitting 98 and 99mph. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweeted this during Eovaldi's start. If he is able to maintain this velocity throughout the season the Rangers rotation will be much better than anyone thought possible
3. Dane Dunning
He had a great week as well. He made two starts. He went five innings, no runs, one hit, with six strikeouts, and one walk against the Royals last Wednesday. He followed that up by pitching 6 innings on Monday giving up five runs. The problem with Dunning is that even though he is pitching well enough to be in the rotation there is no room in the rotation for him. The team will be making a decision by Opening Day on whether or not to put Dunnings or Cole Ragans in the bullpen or have them remain on a starting pitching schedule at Round Rock.