Prospects Greene, Skubal stand out

Detroit Tigers

With the final days of Spring Training at hand, top prospects are making bids to lock up roster spots heading into the 2021 big league season.

Atlanta’s 16th-ranked talent Alex Jackson impressed both at and behind the plate to headline Sunday’s prospect performers. Jackson, who’s been in the running for a catching spot behind starter Travis d’Arnaud, kicked his day off with a defensive highlight. The backstop threw out baseball’s top overall prospect Wander Franco on a steal attempt after Franco was hit by a pitch in the third inning.

After popping out and striking out in his first two at-bats of the day, Jackson connected on his second home run in six games with a blast in the seventh inning. The 25-year-old belted a two-run shot to right field for Atlanta’s final runs of the afternoon.

Franco finished his Sunday performance on a strong note for the Rays. The shortstop fanned in his first at-bat after being plunked in the third but reached on singles to right and center in the seventh and eighth innings. The knocks gave Franco his first multi-hit game since March 5, and the 20-year-old scored a run while driving in another in Tampa Bay’s 16-5 win.

The Sunshine State’s other team found its starting second baseman on Sunday. Jazz Chisholm Jr. was named the Marlins’ starter at that position as Miami knocked off the Mets, 10-2. Chisholm notched an infield single to second base in the third inning to push his slash line to .268/.333/.488 for the spring.

More notable performances from top prospects on Sunday:

Greene only got one plate appearance but made it count. Detroit’s No. 3 prospect singled on a grounder to right field in the eighth inning, turning around a 79.8 mph knuckle curve from Toronto’s David Phelps and sending it through the right side at 98.1 mph, according to Statcast data. Gameday»

Detroit’s No. 4 prospect got off to a rocky start, walking Marcus Semien to open the first inning and allowing a single to right by Cavan Biggio behind it. After inducing a run-scoring double-play ball off the bat of Bo Bichette, the southpaw settled in. Skubal allowed just two more hits the rest of the way, yielding one run in five total innings with three strikeouts and the lone walk. The performance put Skubal’s Spring Training ERA at 1.59 through 17 innings pitched, with 18 strikeouts against nine walks.

St. Louis’ No. 2 prospect got the start for the Cards against the Nationals on Sunday and pitched through ups and downs against the 2019 World Series champs. Liberatore yielded a second-inning homer to Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman, the veteran’s sixth in his first 23 at-bats of the spring, and departed with two aboard in the third. In total, Liberatore was charged with two runs on three hits over 2 1/3, notching a spring-high four strikeouts with two walks. Gameday»

Adding his third multihit game to his spring ledger, Madrigal singled to right to open the fifth and beat out a ground ball to second in the seventh. He exited for pinch-runner Marco Hernandez. In 28 Cactus League at-bats, he’s posted a .357/.400/.393 slash line. Gameday »

Crochet lowered his Cactus League ERA to 2.25 with a scoreless frame against the D-backs. After Michael Kopech allowed a couple of runs in the sixth, the southpaw entered the game in the seventh. He walked Carson Kelly, but induced Tim Locastro to line into a double play and then struck out David Peralta swinging. In nine frames this spring, he’s allowed two earned runs on six hits and four walks while striking out eight. Gameday »

It’s been a slow offensive spring for the Bucs’ shortstop, but Cruz reached twice in three plate appearances on Sunday. Pittsburgh’s No. 4 prospect walked in the second inning and singled on a grounder through the right side in the fourth. It was Cruz’s first time reaching base multiple times in a game in Grapefruit League play this year. Cruz also impressed in the field. Gameday»

Stott flashed the bat and the leather on Sunday afternoon. The third-ranked Phillies prospect came off the bench in place of starter Jean Segura and bounced an RBI single to left field in the seventh inning, his lone plate appearance of the afternoon. In the field, the middle infielder made a diving stop in the sixth inning to take a hit away from the Yankees’ Aaron Hicks. Gameday»

Duran came in as a defensive substitution in center against the Twins in the seventh. Boston’s No. 4 prospect belted his fourth double of the spring to left and crossed the plate on J.D. Martinez’s ground-rule double in the bottom of the frame. In the eighth, he struck out swinging but got aboard on a passed ball and scored when Cesar Puello followed with a homer. Gameday »

Against the Brewers, Stephenson posted his second two-hit game in his last four appearances, lining a single to center in the fifth and a single to right to lead off the seventh. In 39 at-bats this spring, Cincinnati’s No. 4 prospect has a /282/.370/.308 slash line with seven runs scored and five RBIs. Gameday »

Entering the game in the eighth as a pinch-runner for DH Mitch Moreland, Davidson scored on a sacrifice fly by Aramis Garcia. In the ninth, the fifth-ranked A’s prospect drove in a run with a single to center and then crossed the plate on Tony Kemp’s single. In 11 at-bats this spring, Davidson is batting .455/.571/.818. Gameday »

In his third appearance of the spring, Crouse worked his way in and out of trouble against the Cubs in the ninth. After Brennen Davis walked and stole second, the 22-year-old got Andy Weber to fly out to center. The No. 10 Texas prospect walked Rafael Ortega, but induced flyouts to right from Chase Strumpf and Christopher Morel to end the game. Crouse’s ERA dropped to 6.00 with his second straight scoreless outing. Gameday »

In his only at-bat of the game, Welker belted a home run. In the bottom of the eighth vs. Kansas City righty Jake Newberry, Colorado’s No. 11 prospect roped one over the fence in left. In 41 Cactus League at-bats, Welker’s batting .372. Gameday »

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