A spring training standout for each MLB team: 30 players turning heads in camp

One of the most gratifying things about spring training for general managers is when a player on your team exceeds expectations. It could be a veteran who had been in decline before an unlikely resurgence. It could be a prospect who wasn’t on your radar to make the team out of spring training and suddenly has a shot. It could even be a role player who has made significant adjustments that you weren’t expecting and now could get increased playing time.

I reached out to decision-makers with all 30 teams to identify one player on their club who is turning heads during spring training. Here’s what they said, along with my thoughts on each player.

NL East

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AJ Smith-Shawver, pictured this spring, posted a 4.26 ERA in six appearances with the Braves last season. (Kim Klement Neitzel / USA Today)

Atlanta Braves — AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP

Age: 21
Height: 6-3 Weight: 205

Smith-Shawver is the Braves’ best pitching prospect, and they thought so highly of him that they pushed him last year to the majors, where he made five starts and one relief appearance at 20 years old. He received that promotion after posting a 2.76 ERA over 15 starts in the minors with 79 strikeouts in 62 innings. Smith-Shawver’s command and control, which have been his biggest issues, are starting to improve thanks to adjustments with his delivery. He’ll probably start the season in Triple A but gives the Braves a solid option if and when injuries arise in the rotation.

Alex Anthopoulos, president of baseball operations: “He’s had a great camp so far and is really making strides after debuting with the team last season. Both delivery and stuff have taken a step forward. … It will be exciting to follow his development this season.”

Miami Marlins — Eury Pérez, RHP

Age: 20
Height: 6-8 Weight: 220

Pérez’s stuff is off the charts as he regularly reaches triple digits and wields a wipeout slider and a solid changeup. This spring he has worked on adding a curveball with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. and the early results have been positive. A few years back, I predicted Sandy Alcantara would win a Cy Young Award someday and he did in 2022; I’m making the same prediction now for Pérez. His future is bright as an ace and frontline starter.

Skip Schumaker, manager: “Pérez is 20. His first time out, didn’t throw a pitch under 98 (mph) and learned a curveball to go along with the slider/changeup. He is turning into Sandy 2.0. Eury followed him around for a year. Sandy is in his back pocket in the weight room, bullpens, kitchen, you name it, pushing him to be great. And he has a chance to be just that.”

New York Mets — Starling Marte, RF

Age: 35
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6-1  Weight: 195

Marte has dealt with injuries regularly since 2020, and he hasn’t played more than 120 games in a season since 2019. Last year it looked like age and decline had caught up with him as he slashed .248/.301/.324 with five home runs in 86 games, although he did steal 24 bases in 28 attempts. However, his bat looked much slower. The early returns in spring training look promising. Perhaps the two-time All-Star could become a Comeback Player of the Year candidate in his 13th year in the majors.

David Stearns, president of baseball operations: “Marte has come into camp in a great spot physically. He worked extremely hard this offseason and played winter ball, which prepared him well for camp. He’s moving very well.”

Philadelphia Phillies — Cristopher Sánchez, LHP

Age: 27
Height: 6-1 Weight: 165

Sánchez has made major improvements with his control and command, as he’s reduced his walk rate from 11.9 percent in 2021 to 9.6 percent in 2022 to 4.0 percent in 2023. He made 18 starts and one relief appearance last year for the Phillies, logging a 3.44 ERA over 99 1/3 innings with 96 strikeouts to just 16 walks. His ground-ball rate ranked in the 95th percentile and his chase rate was in the 97th percentile. His changeup was so good last season that opposing batters hit just .148 against it. His two-seam fastball averaged 92.1 mph last year and it has ticked up a bit this spring.

Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations: “Sánchez continues to take the next step forward to being a quality major-league starting pitcher. Velocity has increased while still maintaining his command.”

Washington Nationals — James Wood, OF

Age: 21
Bats: L Throws: R
Height: 6-6 Weight: 234

Last year after the Futures Game in Seattle, I handed out superlatives and labeled him the best middle-of-the-order power prospect. Here’s what I wrote then: “Wood really stands out on the field. What’s even more impressive is his ability to cover the strike zone despite his large frame. Also impressive: his speed at that size, thanks to large strides and good first-step quickness. However, my biggest takeaway Saturday was his BP power to left and right field. He’s a superstar in the making.” At that time, I thought Wood’s major-league arrival would be late 2024 or Opening Day 2025, but this spring training has changed that ETA after watching him make significant adjustments and show his power with three home runs early in camp. Don’t be surprised if he makes Washington’s big-league team out of spring training.

Mike Rizzo, president of baseball operations: “James is showing vast improvements in game preparation and routine. He’s sharpening his exceptional skill set at a rapid pace.”

NL Central

Chicago Cubs — Owen Caissie, OF

Age: 21
Bats: L Throws: R
Height: 6-3 Weight: 190

Caissie was the prospect headliner in the Yu Darvish trade in December 2020 after being the Padres’ second-round pick in 2020 out of Notre Dame High in Burlington, Ontario. Last year at Double A, he slashed .289/.399/.519 with 31 doubles, 22 home runs, 84 RBIs and 77 runs. He’s having an impressive spring training with the Cubs, going 10-for-23 so far with scouts across the league raving about him. He’ll probably start the season in Triple A and force his way to the majors later this year. He’s a special talent.

Carter Hawkins, GM: “Caissie impacts the baseball like someone 10 years older. He has a chance to be a power bat in an outfield corner in the near future for our Cubs.”

Cincinnati Reds — Julian Aguiar, RHP

Age: 22
Height: 6-3 Weight: 180

Aguiar was the Reds’ 12th-round pick in 2021 out of Cypress College in California. He’s coming off a breakout year in the minors, posting a 2.95 ERA over 25 starts with 138 strikeouts in 125 innings between High A and Double A. He’ll start the year in Double A or Triple A but if he continues to develop he could make it to the Queen City later this year. He was the Reds’ minor-league pitcher of the year last year thanks to his mid-90s fastball, high ground-ball rate and plus slider along with an average curveball. The best part about him is his composure and durability.

Nick Krall, president of baseball operations: “He has pitched well this spring. He made strides last season. He showed excellent poise in his first big-league camp and competes well. His stuff continues to improve and he has a chance to be a quality big-league pitcher in the near future.”

Brad Meador, GM: “Julian had a good year last year and has put himself in a great position going into this season.”

Milwaukee Brewers — Brice Turang, 2B/SS

Age: 24
Bats: L Throws: R
Height: 6-0 Weight: 188

Turang is a Gold Glove-caliber second baseman with above-average range to both sides and sprint speed that ranked in the 95th percentile. The biggest question this year is how much he can improve with the bat as he hit just .218 last year with a .285 on-base percentage. He’s also a plus defender at shortstop, a position he might have to move to if the Brewers decide to trade Willy Adames at the deadline. However, the key for Turang is offensive improvement. He has demonstrated the work ethic and willingness to make the necessary adjustments to get better.

Matt Arnold, GM: “Brice was already a dynamic defender worthy of Gold Glove consideration and continues to get better every day. He worked very hard this offseason, and he has looked great so far in camp.”

Pittsburgh Pirates — Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B

Age: 27
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 5-11 Weight: 195

It seems every year I have Hayes as a breakout candidate and tell everyone he’ll win a Gold Glove Award someday. Well, maybe he hasn’t broken out yet, but he did win his first Gold Glove last year. He also added more power to his game, tallying career-highs in doubles (31) and home runs (15). I will include him again this year on my breakout list and predict he’ll be the kind of hitter — 40 doubles and 20 home runs — I’ve always believed he would develop into.

Ben Cherington, GM: “Ke has been and is a really important player for us. This spring he has taken another step forward in his game on the field and taken another step as a voice inside our clubhouse.”

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Second baseman Thomas Saggese throws to first base to record an out. (Sam Navarro / USA Today)

St. Louis Cardinals — Thomas Saggese, INF

Age: 21
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 5-11 Weight: 185

Saggese was the Rangers’ fifth-round pick in 2020 out of Carlsbad (Calif.) High. The Cardinals acquired him in the Jordan Montgomery trade at last year’s deadline. He played at Double A and Triple A last season, slashing a combined .306/.374/.530 with 34 doubles, 26 home runs, 111 RBIs and 12 steals. This spring his high baseball IQ and instincts have stood out to the Cardinals’ coaching staff.

Oliver Marmol, manager: “He’s a student of the game and taking as much out of his time in camp as possible. He has a good idea at the plate and understands who he is.”

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks — Alek Thomas, CF

Age: 23
Bats: L Throws: L
Height: 5-11 Weight: 175

During the postseason, we all saw Thomas’ stellar defense including impressive outfield range, which ranked in the 90th percentile last season. His speed also boosts him on the basepaths, where Thomas had nine steals in 10 attempts. He played in 125 regular-season games for Arizona last year and slashed just .230/.273/.374, which was a similar line to his rookie season in 2022. The Diamondbacks have been impressed with his at-bats in spring training and are hoping he can take a big step forward offensively this season.

Mike Hazen, GM: “He’s had great at-bats with the same elite defense.”

Colorado Rockies — Elehuris Montero, 1B/3B

Age: 25
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6-3 Weight: 235

The Rockies acquired Montero from the Cardinals in the blockbuster 2021 trade that sent Nolan Arenado to St. Louis, a deal that so far has not worked out for Colorado apart from the salary savings. Montero was one of the headliners in the trade for Colorado, but last year he batted .243 with 11 home runs, 39 RBIs and -0.1 WAR (Baseball Reference). This spring he’s looked more promising as he’s played mostly at first base and batted .333 with three home runs and eight RBIs. The Rockies are hoping for a breakout season. If he can maintain this type of level throughout spring training, it could push Kris Bryant back to the outfield.

Bill Schmidt, GM: “Montero has had a very good start to camp and has swung the bat very well.”

Los Angeles Dodgers — Gavin Lux, SS

Age: 26
Bats: L Throws: R
Height: 6-2 Weight: 190

Lux was one of the top shortstop prospects in baseball before injuries, including a season-ending knee injury last spring, slowed his progression. However, in his short major-league career (894 at-bats), he has posted 5.2 WAR with 18 home runs, 105 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. He’s having a strong spring training at the plate, going 8-for-23 so far, and looks healthy. The offensive potential has always been there and now that he’s in one of the best lineups in baseball with little to no pressure, don’t be surprised if he realizes his potential. However, he must overcome his throwing issues at shortstop, which have resurfaced this spring.

Brandon Gomes, GM: “Lux hasn’t missed a beat offensively and may look better than we’ve ever seen him in the box. To miss an entire year and still have his rhythm and timing versus major-league pitching is really impressive.”

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Jackson Merrill makes a diving catch in the outfield this spring. (Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)

San Diego Padres — Jackson Merrill, LF

Age: 20
Bats: L Throws: R
Height: 6-3 Weight: 195

A 2021 first-round pick, Merrill was drafted as a shortstop but with Ha-Seong Kim at short and Xander Bogaerts at second, his best chance of making the Padres’ big-league team out of spring training will be in left field. I saw him play in the Futures Game last July and thought he had the loudest bat in batting practice as he showed off ridiculous raw pull power. (In games, he uses the whole field with authority.) Last year between High A and Double A, he slashed .277/.326/.444 with 25 doubles, four triples, 15 home runs, 64 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 19 attempts. Fernando Tatis Jr. recently said during an ESPN spring training broadcast that he hopes Merrill makes the team as the starting left fielder despite his age because of his overall talent and potential. He’s holding his own so far this spring at the plate and looks like he’ll be able to learn to play left field. If he doesn’t start the year in the majors, he’ll eventually get there this season and when he does should be a positive contributor in the short term and could become an All-Star caliber player in the long term.

A.J. Preller, president of baseball operations: “Jackson worked really hard this offseason to be prepared for this camp. He brings an energy every day that is contagious and it’s been fun to see the way he has attacked the challenge of learning the new position of left field.”

San Francisco Giants — Mason Black, RHP

Age: 24
Height: 6-3 Weight: 230

Black logged a 3.71 ERA in 29 starts between Double A and Triple A last year. He struck out 155 in 123 2/3 innings but also walked 52. His feature pitch is his four-seam fastball from a low arm slot that plays against both righty and lefty hitters at the top of the zone at 93-95 mph, which reminds me of Bryan Woo of the Mariners. Black’s repertoire also includes a hard sweeping slider and a tighter cutter. He needs to work on his changeup and command but he’s making progress and this spring the durable righty is competing for a starting rotation spot.

Pete Putila, GM: “Black is showing what he can do in this camp after making the eighth-most starts in the minors the past two years. In 2023, he improved the command of his sweeper and added a shorter, harder slider. This spring, he has continued to refine his (pitch) mix by improving his changeup.”

AL East

Baltimore Orioles — Kyle Stowers, OF

Age: 26
Bats: L Throws: L
Height: 6-3 Weight: 215

The Orioles are so loaded with outfielders, including their starting three (Anthony Santander, Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays) and youngsters Colton Cowser and Heston Kjerstad, who look like they’re on the verge of contributing. But don’t forget about Stowers, who is also impressing. Last season in the minors (mostly at Triple A) Stowers slashed .275/.388/.566 with 10 doubles, 21 home runs and 58 RBIs in just 258 at-bats. He gives the Orioles flexibility to trade some of their outfield depth or could become a trade piece himself. He has hit three home runs this spring.

Mike Elias, GM: “He had some tough luck with an ill-timed injury in 2023, but Stowers has come into camp sharp and determined. He’s made his swing a tick more efficient and has also been excellent staying in against left-handed pitching this spring. Huge power and a great athlete with his whole career in front of him.”

Boston Red Sox — Justin Slaten, RHP

Age: 26
Height: 6-4 Weight: 222

Slaten, a former Rangers prospect, was selected by the Mets in the Rule 5 draft, then acquired by the Red Sox in a trade. Last year between Double A and Triple A he posted an 2.87 ERA in 39 relief appearances and one start, with 86 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings. This spring he’s pitched four scoreless innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Slaten’s status as a Rule 5 selectee means he needs to make the active roster or be sent back to the Mets.

Craig Breslow, chief baseball officer: “Slaten has been impressive. He’s shown the ability to get swings-and-misses in the zone on his secondaries with enough (on his fastball) to keep hitters off balance.”

New York Yankees — Nick Burdi, RHP

Age: 31
Height: 6-3 Weight: 225

It’s not often a 31-year-old journeyman-type pitcher stands out in spring training but that’s what Burdi has done this spring with the Yankees. His stuff is overpowering but he’s rarely been healthy over the past decade; when he has pitched, he’s logged high strikeout and walk rates.  He has a 98 to 100 mph fastball from a lower arm slot to go with a slider and changeup. He’s had two Tommy John surgeries and a surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, so health concerns will always be there, but he’s struck out seven and walked one in three innings this spring as he tries to win a spot in the bullpen.

Aaron Boone, manager: “Burdi has ridiculously great stuff. The only question is, can he put it all together and stay healthy? If he can, watch out!”

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Jonathan Aranda comes in to score a run this spring. (Kim Klement Neitzel / USA Today)

Tampa Bay Rays — Jonathan Aranda, INF

Age: 25
Bats: L Throws: R
Height: 6-0 Weight: 210

The Rays always seem to have players who “come out of nowhere” and exceed expectations and this spring Aranda looks like he could be the next one to do it. Last year he slashed .339/.449/.613 with 23 doubles, 25 home runs and 81 RBIs at Triple A, then was promoted to the majors where he posted a .340 OBP but didn’t do much damage outside of that. This spring he’s hit .375 in 16-at bats with loud noise coming off the sweet spot. He’s one to watch.

Erik Neander, president of baseball operations: “Aranda is a gifted hitter with a great track record in the box. He’s generated a lot of buzz in camp and is earning stronger consideration for a major-league opportunity each passing day.”

Toronto Blue Jays — Alejandro Kirk, C

Age: 25
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 5-8 Weight: 245

Kirk was an All-Star and a Silver Slugger winner in 2022 when he slashed .285/.372/.415 with 19 doubles, 14 home runs and 63 RBIs. He wasn’t able to replicate those results last year as he hit .250/.334/.358 with 16 doubles, eight home runs and 43 RBIs. However, he appears to be in much better shape this spring and has hit two home runs in his first five games. After losing Matt Chapman in free agency and not adding much offense this offseason outside of Justin Turner, the Blue Jays need Kirk to have a bounce-back year; there are positive early signs he’s on a path to do that.

Ross Atkins, GM: “Alejandro has looked very strong thus far. His focus, work and routines have put him in position to be successful in every aspect of his game.”

AL Central

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The White Sox are likely to trade Dylan Cease, but when? (Joe Camporeale / USA Today)

Chicago White Sox — Dylan Cease, RHP

Age: 28
Height: 6-2 Weight: 200

Cease is not only the best pitcher on the White Sox staff but also the team’s best trade asset between now and the trade deadline. In 2022 he went 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA over 32 starts, with 227 strikeouts and 78 walks in 184 innings en route to finishing second in AL Cy Young Award voting. Last year he regressed, going 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA over 33 starts but with a FIP of 3.72. For the third year in a row, he struck out more than 200, but he also walked 79 in 177 innings (4.0 walks per nine). This spring he looks more like the Cease of 2022, which is good news for the White Sox. He’ll likely be their Opening Day starter but it’s doubtful he’ll be a White Sox come August. They should be able to get a strong return of prospects for Cease in a trade at some point.

Chris Getz, GM: “Dylan is already living at 98 mph with his (fastball), and 88 to 89 with his (slider). He’s never been as physically prepared entering a season as he is this camp. This is the best we’ve seen his command as a White Sox pitcher thus far and he claims he is not even locked in yet.”

Cleveland Guardians — Angel Martínez, INF

Age: 22
Bats: B Throws: R
Height: 6-0  Weight: 200

Martínez split time last year between Double A and Triple A and slashed a combined .251/.321/.394 with 23 doubles, five triples, 14 home runs, 79 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He started 56 games at second base, 38 games at third base and 32 at shortstop. He’s had a strong spring so far and his ability to play all three of those infield positions adequately is impressive. Everyone in Guardians camp is raving about the improvements he’s made to his game.

Mike Chernoff, GM: “Martínez is an exciting and versatile player who put in a ton of work this offseason, both offensively and defensively, that has carried into spring training. He has a chance to impact the game in a number of different ways.”

Detroit Tigers — Andy Ibañez, INF

Age: 30
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 5-10 Weight: 205

It’s so important to have a 10th player on your roster as injury insurance who can step in at multiple positions if needed. That’s what Ibañez provides the Tigers. Last year he hit .264 with 11 home runs and a 102 OPS+ over 356 at-bats. He was worth 2.0 WAR. He’s having such a strong spring that some scouts believe he could be an everyday player. In the meantime, he’ll serve as a key replacement when rookie second baseman Colt Keith or veteran third baseman Gio Urshela needs a day off or face a bad pitching matchup.

Jeff Greenberg, GM: “Ibañez has had a strong camp. As we saw last year, he can help us in many ways. He brings a good approach to every at-bat and makes plenty of hard contact. He gives us versatility in several spots in the field. He is very routine-oriented, continues to put in quality work on his defense, and is prepared to contribute every day, whether he’s starting or coming off the bench.”

Kansas City Royals — Kyle Isbel, OF

Age: 27
Bats: L Throws: R
Height: 5-11 Weight: 190

This will be Isbel’s fourth season in the majors with the Royals and the front office is hoping for a breakout. Last year, he played 91 games and slashed .240/.282/.380 with 22 doubles, five home runs and 34 RBIs. Some scouts believe Isbel can be a player who hits 15 to 18 homers and steals 20 bases. Could this be the year?

J.J. Picollo, GM: “Kyle came into camp in fantastic shape. He’s more athletic and looser in all of his movements. He’s running well and his swing looks great. The ball is coming off his bat and he’s using all fields extremely well.”

Minnesota Twins — Carlos Correa, SS

Age: 29
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 220

It’s hard to believe that Correa is still in his 20s but that’s the case as the two-time All-Star prepares for his 10th season in the majors. He’s played in at least 135 games per season in his past two years with the Twins and provided decent production despite battling numerous leg and foot injuries. He’s the leader of the team and has averaged 20 home runs and 65 RBIs over his tenure, though his OPS dropped from .834 to .711 last year. Scouts are observing better range from him in both directions this spring as his lower half appears much healthier than in the past. If the Twins are going to repeat as NL Central champs, they need a healthy Correa. He’s showing good signs so far in that regard, including improved first-step movements.

Derek Falvey, president of baseball operations: “Carlos battled through a lot of soreness last year with that plantar issue. He played great defense all year through it all. You can tell he’s feeling a lot better this spring.”

AL West

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Kenedy Corona makes a running catch in foul territory this spring. (Jim Rassol / USA Today)

Houston Astros — Kenedy Corona, OF

Age: 23
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 5-10 Weight: 184

Corona played at High A and Double A last year, slashing .251/.331/.458 with 21 doubles, 22 home runs, 65 RBIs and 32 stolen bases in 42 attempts. He also played in the Arizona Fall League and held his own in a handful of games. His power and defense are both above average, but is he a good enough hitter to succeed in the big leagues? If he makes the right adjustments in the first part of the year, he might make it to the majors at some point this season.

Dana Brown, GM: “Corona is very intriguing. It’s most likely plus defense with a plus arm and good bat-to-ball (skills) and power upside because there is natural strength.  He was added to the 40-man this offseason and might burst on the scene by the beginning of summer.”

Los Angeles Angels — Jordyn Adams, OF

Age: 24
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6-2 Weight: 181

A first-round pick in 2018, Adams has been slow to develop. However, last year at Triple A, it looked like he was starting to put it together as he slashed .268/.352/.465 with 25 doubles, six triples, 15 home runs, 67 RBIs and 44 steals in 49 attempts. The Angels brought him up at the end of the year but he didn’t sing like Beyonce; instead he went 5-for-39. However, this spring has been a different tune, like her No. 1 country hit, and he’s turning heads. He’s always had speed and is a tremendous athlete. He just needs to hit enough. Given Adams’ tools, the Angels shouldn’t give up on him prematurely.

Perry Minasian, GM: “A ‘toolshed center fielder’ who’s starting to slow the game down. He can impact the game in multiple ways.”

Oakland A’s— Joe Boyle, RHP

Age: 24
Height: 6-7  Weight: 240

Boyle is impressing this spring and has a strong chance of making the big-league team out of camp. Last year at Double A and Triple A, he logged a 3.84 ERA over 25 starts, with 168 strikeouts and just 83 hits allowed in 117 1/3 innings. But he also walked 93 batters. Last September he took advantage of his call-up, posting a 1.69 ERA over 16 innings with 15 strikeouts and five walks. When the command and control arrive, he’ll become an important part of the A’s pitching staff. The early returns this spring have been positive.

David Forst, GM: “Boyle picked up right where he left off in September. His stuff is in midseason form, his command has been outstanding, and he does not look like a rookie who’s only made three major-league starts.”

Seattle Mariners — Ryan Bliss, 2B/SS

Age: 24
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 5-6 Weight: 165

Bliss was the prospect headliner in the Paul Sewald trade between the Mariners and Diamondbacks at last year’s trade deadline. He was Arizona’s second-round pick in 2021 out of Auburn. Last year he slashed .304/.378/.524 with 34 doubles, 23 home runs, 86 RBIs and 55 stolen bases between Double A and Triple A. This spring he’s batting .375 (6-for-16) in seven games. He’s made a lot of adjustments at the plate, including closing his stance, implementing a toe tap and shortening his swing. His best position is second base but his best role with the Mariners this year would be as a utility player if he can make the team. He’s an exciting, athletic player to watch.

Jerry Dipoto, president of baseball operations: “Bliss has been a standout since day one. He’s been smooth defensively, showing he can handle both middle-infield spots, while also showing a quick bat with sneaky power and plus-plus speed.”

Texas Rangers — Justin Foscue, 2B/3B

Age: 25
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 5-11 Weight: 205

Foscue was the Rangers’ first-round pick in 2020 out of Mississippi State. Last year at Triple A he slashed .266/.394/.468 with 31 doubles, 18 home runs, 84 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. He’s blocked at the major-league level with Marcus Semien at second base, Corey Seager at shortstop and Josh Jung at third base. His only real path to playing time in the majors is as an injury replacement or in a backup role, which makes him the most likely player to be traded for pitching when the Rangers decide they need to make a move. Foscue has improved significantly defensively and will eventually be some team’s everyday second baseman. It’s just not likely to be the Rangers.

Chris Young, GM: “Justin continues to demonstrate an elite approach and has worked really hard to make himself a solid defender. He’s having an impressive camp.”

(Top photo of Owen Caissie: Matt Dirksen / Getty Images)

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