A quick look around the National League…
- Renowned for his offensive ability, Mets first base prospect Pete Alonso has lived up to the billing this spring with a .423/.464/.885 line and three home runs over 26 exhibition at-bats. But it’s the 24-year-old’s defense which has truly raised manager Mickey Callaway’s eyebrows, per Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News. “I kind of knew the offense was going to be somewhat special. So for me, the defense and how locked in to a game he is every day (is surprising),” said Callaway, who added, “All the little things that it takes to be a quality major-league player, he’s doing them on defense.” A consensus top 100 prospect, Alonso is competing with Dominic Smith, who was a touted farmhand not long ago, for the Mets’ starting job at first. Smith has also raked this spring (.435/.500/.609 in 23 ABs), and it could help his cause that New York would gain an extra year of control over Alonso by sending him back to the minors until mid-April. The Mets, however, have insisted service time won’t play a role in whether Alonso lands an Opening Day roster spot.
- After enjoying a stunningly effective rookie year in 2018, Giants right-hander Dereck Rodriguez has earned a place in the team’s season-opening rotation, manager Bruce Bochy said Saturday (via John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle). Bochy noted that he hasn’t set the entire quintet in stone yet, but as Shea points out, Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, Derek Holland and Drew Pomeranz look like locks to accompany Rodriguez in the starting five. Rodriguez was arguably the best member of the group last season, when he turned in a 2.81 ERA/3.74 FIP with 6.77 K/9 and 2.74 BB/9 in 118 1/3 innings (21 appearances, 19 starts).
- Left-hander Vidal Nuno’s minor league contract with the Nationals includes opt-out chances on March 27 and June 15, Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post reports. Thanks in part to the Nationals’ release of fellow lefty Sammy Solis on Saturday, Nuno’s chances of cracking their 25-man roster by one of those dates have seemingly improved, Dougherty observes. Further, the 31-year-old Nuno has gained an important fan in manager Dave Martinez, who said Saturday: “From what I’ve seen, he’s got a multitude of pitches that he can get people out with. I mean lefties, righties, he’s not afraid of pitching in. I like him. His presence on the mound is good. He attacks the strike zone. I really like what I see so far.”