Only two spring training games remain, as the Chicago White Sox will play two games in an actual major league ballpark before their first regular game in Kansas City on Thursday.
Former top St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect Luke Weaver will be on the bump for the D-backs to start. FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference have different takes on Weaver’s career so far. He has a 3.1 career fWAR, but a -0.9 bWAR, so basically the word is still out on whether Weaver is good or not. However, he has done very well this spring: 11 1⁄3 innings pitched, 1.59 ERA, 10 strikeouts and zero walks. Must be weird, seeing a young pitcher doing well.
Here are the rest of your Arizona starters:
Tonight's #Dbacks lineup for an exhibition game against the White Sox at @ChaseField:@SimplyAJ10 | CF@escobarmaracay | 3B#FreightTrain | LF@SouzaJr | RF@JakeLamb18 | 1B— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) March 25, 2019
Marte | 2B@NickAhmed13 | SS@JRMurphy513 | C@DreamWeava7 | P pic.twitter.com/7mfjFBzd7S
Here is a very Opening Day-like starting lineup to back with your new fifth starter, Ervin Santana:
The two outliers in what seems to be an Opening Day lineup are Leury Garcia and James McCann. It has been a foregone conclusion, or at least was expected, that Adam Engel and Welington Castillo would garner the most playing time. However, Garcia has had a fantastic spring and has been a much better hitter than Engel the past few seasons. In 19 games, Garcia is slashing .440/.455/.660. Meanwhile, Engel has slashed .245/.351/.510, still good, but nowhere near Leury. It helps Leury further that he has no options left and has a 92 wRC+ the last two seasons, which is much higher than Engel’s 56. To his credit, Engel plays a better outfield than Garcia.
At the catcher spot, McCann, who has much less salary and much less baggage (Castillo’s steriod suspension last season), has slashed .317/.391/.415 in 14 spring games. Castillo has slashed .240/.240/.480 in nine, but unlike Garcia v. Engel, Castillo historically has been a much better player than McCann.
Whatever the case in these two spots, any sort of playing time competition is welcome. The White Sox have gotten minimal production from center field in the past few years, and traded away their best catcher in Omar Narvaez in the offseason.
Meanwhile, after Carlos Rodón and Reynaldo López go in games one and two, Rick Renteria officially announced his third and fourth starters:
Giolito game 3 vs KC, Nova 4 vs Cleveland, Renteria says.— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) March 25, 2019
The MLB.com gamethread and Arizona’s radio broadcast via MLB.TV are the only ways to follow tonight’s game. Pretty odd that the run-up to the regular season comes with two non-televised “real” exhibitions.