Spring Training is over for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I know, after their little excursion to Australia they will play four more exhibition games before the regular season starts up again. It doesn’t matter to me. There is only one goal between March 24th and March 31st: stay healthy. So with Spring Training 2014 in the books and awards seemingly for everything, it’s time to look at the guys in the running for Spring Training Most Valuable Player. The nominees are:
A.J. Pollock: When Adam Eaton was traded to the Chicago White Sox, the starting center field job appeared to be handed to the former first round pick. Pollock decided that he didn’t want to leave any doubt and the proceeded to tear up the Cactus League. In 40 at-bats, A.J. had a total of eight extra base hits (four doubles, three triples and a home run) with a robust .425/.477./.750 slash line. He also scored eight runs and drove in seven. Every ball he hit seemed to be on the nose and although Eaton is having a nice Spring himself for Chicago, there is no doubt management has to feel good about keeping Pollock.
Brandon McCarthy: If there was one pitcher that needed to have a big Spring, it was the 30-year old McCarthy. He is entering the second and final year of his contract after a very uneven first season in Arizona. With stiff competition for the starting rotation, McCarthy needed to do well in order to secure a spot. The tall right-hander did that and more with some outstanding work. In three starts covering 14 innings, McCarthy threw be-bee’s to the tune of a 1.93 ERA. He only issued two walks while not giving up a single home run. He clearly was the team’s best starter and now with the staff beset by injuries, needs to pitch equally large in the regular season.
Martin Prado: Sizzling is about the best word to describe Prado in his second Spring with the D’backs. He batted just a shade under .500 (19 hits in 40 at-bats) and drilled six doubles. Prado led the team in runs scored with ten and had an OBP of .488 while slugging .700. At this time last year, Prado was struggling to fit in, pressed and then endured a rough first half of the regular season. He ended 2013 on an up note with a career-high 82 RBI’s and the momentum has clearly carried over to the Spring. If Prado can carry it over into the regular season, the D’backs’ offense should be a force in the National League West.
So who which gentleman deserves our MVP? I’d be more inclined to give it to a position player since pitchers, particularly starters, are not overly extended until their last one or two outings. However, given the events of the last week with the rotation, I will give it to McCarthy. He was head and shoulders above all pitchers and will be counted on more than ever to produce. Plus, if this was an actual process with more than one voter, Prado and Pollock would split votes. So, congratulations Brandon McCarthy, on being named Spring Training MVP. Let’s hope the awards don’t stop there.