Five Spring Training Surprises Vying For Roster Spot

  • Kevin Smith
Grady Sizemore

Grady Sizemore with the Boston Red Sox (Credit:


Spring Training is an opportunity for many players who want to resurrect their career, take more crack, or show off their skills as a prospect and many other reasons.

There will be a ton of surprises that come out of spring training when it draws towards the end next week.

Some players stick out like a sore thumb (in a good way) and make a strong impact throughout the regular season.

Here are some of those players who been a pleasant surprise in their attempt for a roster spot:


Grady Sizemore (Red Sox) – The immensely talented center fielder has been through many injuries the past couple years. Sizemore hasn’t played a full season since 2008 and hasn’t flashed the leather or crack the bat since 2011. But new team, new outlook is the motive for newly acquired Beantown player. The Red Sox are hoping he can be the player he was in Cleveland but it’s hard to tell if that will even be possible. He is, however making quite an impact in spring ball so far (.294 average at spring training camp). If Grady is at full strength like he was before the injuries, he could easily be one of the dangerous outfielders in the league. Might as well call him a sleeper pick at this point.

Seth Rosin (Dodgers) – The Rule 5 draftee is making a sudden case that the Dodgers made the right choice trading for him during the draft. His numbers during spring are phenomenal (1.64 ERA in four games; 12 K’s in 11.0 innings) and he has solidified his cause as an efficient pitcher. Rosin is giving Rule 5 draft picks a good name and showing glimpses of how guys like Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips can be successful from that draft. No telling where Rosin will end to start to season but it could be between the LA bullpen or in down in Triple-A ball until he is needed.

Randy Wolf (Mariners) – Like Sizemore (but not as severe), Wolf has attempted to avoid the injuries that have taken a good chunk out of his playing career. The Mariners lefty hasn’t played since 2012 when he played for the Brewers and Orioles. At the age of 37, Wolf may have very little energy to musk up a full season but there is no doubt when healthy he is a quality starting pitchers. His spring training numbers aren’t stellar (6.00 ERA in 3 games) but come regular season he could give the M’s a rising impact. Seattle certainly does need starters at the end of their rotation.

Michael Pineda (Yankees) – Another player bashed with injuries, Pineda is slowly but surely making his way to finally debuting in Pinstripes. His spring numbers so far (1-0, 4.2 innings pitched, 9 K’s) give a taste of what he can bring to Yankee Stadium. Yankee fans have been patiently waiting to see what the kid can bring to the table, especially from his rookie season with the Mariners in 2011 (3.74 ERA, 173 K’s). Ironically, that is the last season he’s played since the Yanks-M’s swap for Pineda and Jesus Montero, which at that point was one-sided steal. But it is now even with Montero not putting up impressive numbers as anticipated, gained 40 pounds over the winter, and was optioned down to Triple-A recently. Nonetheless, Pineda has the stuff to make the Yanks the clear winner of the trade at the end. It’ll be exciting to watch the righty be on the mound for the first time since 2011.

Matt den Dekker (Mets) – The Mets prospect is steadily becoming the player the organization was hoping for. Stuck in the minors most of his career, den Dekker finally broke out with the Mets last season, playing 27 games. This season, den Dekker will look to make the roster on the spot and he has proven himself very much so this spring (.375 average, 6 RBIs). Nonetheless, the center fielder can bring his tools to the Mets shed and be the player that could get the Metropolitans out of their playoff drought.

Sports-Kings Reading Between The Seams contributor Kevin L. Smith (@KevLSmittie)

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