PT TOMORROW: NL West—A pitcher worth paying attention to in COL

Colorado Rockies

The Rockies' exhibition season has unfortunately been dominated by injury news, as they’ve lost key members of both their infield and outfield. That has opened up plenty of playing time around the diamond, and a lot of questions particularly at third base as well as right field. Barring the acquisition of Jurickson Profar (OF, FA), a rumor that emerged over the weekend, the candidates to start in right field have both been covered in this column as well as in PT Today–the latter of which accounts for the recent injury to Sean Bouchard (OF, COL).

One surprising area of stability, given the general trend of injuries around the league, is in the rotation. Even with each of the presumed starting five remaining healthy to this point, Connor Seabold (RHP, COL) should be gaining some attention. Nothing about him prior to the exhibition season suggested he would be a big part of the Rockies’ plans as he was acquired from the Red Sox this winter for a player to be named later. He’s also had a disastrous start to his big league career over a small sample (5.94 xERA, 8 K-BB%, 39 BPV), while both his 2021 and 2022 seasons were interrupted by arm injuries.

Despite the small-sample struggles and some red flags related to health, Seabold has some prospect pedigree as a 2017 third-round pick and a 7C prospect as recently as 2022. He’s put together an impressive spring training, having allowed only an earned run across seven innings pitched to go along with a 7:0 K:BB. Notably, he’s also worked at least two innings in all three of his appearances. That stands in contrast to Peter Lambert (RHP, COL), who has worked only three total innings (through Monday) and walked four while striking out none. Meanwhile, Noah Davis (RHP, COL), another young pitcher vying for positioning as a depth starter, has a 7:6 K:BB across 10 innings in Cactus League action. Seabold’s strong performance, combined with the less impressive showings of his primary competitors, could mean that he gets the first chance as a fill-in starting option in Colorado this season.

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San Diego Padres

Speaking of players who are increasing their odds of reaching and ultimately sticking in the majors, Jay Groome (LHP, SD) has quickly emerged as a standout performer in San Diego. He’s been positively covered on a number of different platforms in recent days, including Dennis Lin of The Athletic and AJ Cassavell of While the substance of those articles were very different, both concluded that Groome has a realistic, and potentially even likely, shot of starting the season in the majors.

While the pending health of Joe Musgrove (RHP, SD) and the more ominous news surrounding Adrián Morejón (LHP, SD) have artificially pushed Groome up the depth chart, he’s also done plenty of convincing on his own. He has yet to allow an earned run across 10.1 innings while also striking out 10 batters this spring. His seven walks in that span are certainly cautionary, particularly because five of those walks have come as he’s stretched out to three and four innings in his last two outings, respectively. That could serve to limit his role to multi-inning relief to begin the regular season if he does make the roster, though the team has started to stretch him out as the spring has progressed—hinting at the potential for more should a role open up.

Brent Honeywell (RHP, SD) has also been healthy in camp this spring. Like Groome, he has ramped up his workload progressively and recently struck out seven while walking only one across a four-inning appearance (he did give up three earned runs). Given his lengthy track record of bad injury luck, it’s hard to remember just how touted Honeywell was as a prospect, but he’s a longer shot name to monitor on early or mid-season waiver wires because he is very unlikely to be in San Diego when the season begins. (H/T to our own Stephen Nickrand for recently pointing out Honeywell’s success on Twitter). 


Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers rotated through a number of players at designated hitter in 2022, with Will Smith (C, LA) among them. Of his career-high 578 plate appearances, 107 of them—or 18.5 percent—came as the DH. Smith also saw significant success in those 107 plate appearances, posting a 1.157 OPS and .407 ISO. That could be a small-sample size fluke, or perhaps an indication of just how much Smith could focus on his work at the plate rather than behind the dish. Regardless, those plate appearances will be evaporating in 2023 thanks to the addition of J.D. Martinez (DH, LA). Per Juan Toribio of, manager Dave Roberts stated in late February, “I don’t expect J.D. to DH 162 games. But he’s going to be the guy who’s going to be in that position 99.9 percent of the time.” Even if Smith gets plate appearances at the position sporadically, it’s almost certain he’ll lose out on some volume compared to his 2022 mark.

While that will be an obvious detriment to his value, Roberts has indicated that his preliminary plan is to bat Smith third in the order, behind Mookie Betts (OF, LA) and Freddie Freeman (1B, LA), who posted .340 and .407 on-base percentages, respectively, in 2022. Hitting high in the order will be nothing new to Smith, as he primarily batted as the cleanup hitter last season with some time in the three-spot mixed in. That should serve to boost Smith’s opportunity to drive in runs, but the chance to make up volume will be negligible. In 2022, the third hitter in the Dodgers’ lineup saw 724 plate appearances while the fourth hitter earned 713. Drafters have seemingly adjusted to this on platforms such as NFBC (current ADP of 60.69 in 12-team, two-catcher Online Championship leagues), so Smith's extremely stable skills mean he could still return his expected value based on draft position. 


Arizona Diamondbacks

No Diamondbacks player has recorded more than 20 saves since the 2018 season, when Brad Boxberger (RHP, CHC) racked up 32. With the team looking like it’s set to enter a window of contention, or at a minimum be more competitive, the 2023 campaign could be the time to for the ninth-inning usage in Arizona to change. Unfortunately, comments from manager Torey Lovullo that have been repeated a few times this spring indicate that he plans to be flexible with the closer role once again. He did reference the team’s offseason overhaul of the bullpen, which saw the additions of Miguel Castro (RHP, ARI), Jeurys Familia (RHP, ARI), Andrew Chafin (LHP, ARI) and Scott McGough (RHP, ARI). More specifically, he noted that he liked the addition of power arms to the bullpen.

Each of Castro, Chafin, and McGough bring some merit to the argument of why they could be the team’s closer. Speaking of a power pitcher, Castro fits the bill. He throws right around 98 mph consistently, though that hasn’t translated to a standout strikeout rate (24% in 2022, 21% career), and he has only once since with an LI above 1.0 since 2017. Chafin offers the opposite profile. He throws only 91.5 mph from the left side but gets strikeouts (28 K% in 2022, 25% career) and has had an LI of at least 1.14 in each of the last five seasons. Meanwhile, McGough has pitched in the Japan Central League for the last several years, and he ‘s racked up 69 saves across the last two seasons combined. He struggled mightily in a very small big league sample in 2015, and he hasn’t seen a spike in velocity while in Japan. On the other hand, he has thrown 5.2 scoreless innings this spring.

There are a few incumbents also in the mix. Mark Melancon (RHP, ARI) led the team with 18 saves in 2022, though there’s no compelling reason to believe he’ll be in the saves picture again in 2023 (14 K%, 9.9 SwK, 91.2 vel, 4.83 xERA in 2022). Joe Mantiply (LHP, ARI) had a breakout 2022 campaign (25 K%, 2 BB%, 2.74 xERA). The presence of two standout southpaws in the bullpen thanks to the addition of Chafin bolsters the chance of either, or potentially both, picking up save chances. Our current projections give Mantiply the highest projected share on the team. Kevin Ginkel (RHP, ARI) is also an option worth mentioning, as he’s regularly occupied a high-leverage role, though he struggled until the 2022 season. 


San Francisco Giants

Perhaps we can chalk it up to coach speak or gullible beat writers, but a lot of (perhaps previously) fringe big-league players have been getting hyped in spring training for the Giants. Blake Sabol (C, SF) was the first to get some positive attention, and his ability to also play the outfield could land him on the Opening Day roster as both a backup catcher and outfielder. His case has improved recently due to the lengthy absence for Luis González (OF, SF) and the seemingly less serious injury for Mitch Haniger (OF, SF). Last week, this column made the case for Brett Wisely (SF, UT), who also suddenly has a path to break camp with the team after Isan Díaz (2B, SF) was demoted to minor league camp Tuesday.

The newest name to add to the watchlist in San Francisco is Casey Schmitt (3B, SF), though he comes with more pedigree (he was rated a 7D prospect this offseason) and has no chance of making the big league club immediately. He rose through the team’s system quickly in 2022 after starting the season in High-A and closing it with 16 plate appearances at Triple-A. He’s carried over that successful campaign into 2023, as he’s boasted a .462 average with two home runs, two triples and a double across 26 spring training plate appearances.

In addition to his work at the plate, Schmitt has added some defensive versatility to his game. Primarily a third baseman, he also appeared in 40 games as a shortstop in 2022 at High-A and has continued to get looks at the position this spring. That’s particularly notable because manager Gabe Kapler specifically mentioned Schmitt as an eventual option at shortstop should Brandon Crawford’s (SS, SF) knee injury linger or reemerge in the summer months.

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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.