DSC Shave Time 728x90
Legends On Deck

LOD Weekly Grapefruit League Report

Welcome to the first edition of the LOD Weekly Grape Fruit League Report. The LOD Weekly Grape Fruit League Report is your source for Grape Fruit League news throughout Spring Training. Check back for game reports highlighting the top performers and news surrounding the Grape Fruit League’s fifteen teams.

With only hours before Pitchers and Catchers report for their first workout of 2018, the excitement is brewing for another amazing baseball season.

So sit back and let us bring you all the action as the 15 clubs that make up the Grapefruit League, gear up for the 2018 regular baseball season.


Atlanta Braves

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 19

First Game: Feb. 23 at New York Mets

Home Facility: Champion Stadium, Kissimmee, FL
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: The Braves are coming off their 4th straight season playing below .500 ball. The big news in the off season was the trade that sent outfielder Matt Kemp back to the Los Angeles Dodgers for 1B Adrian Gonzalez, LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Brandon McCarthy, SS Charlie Culberson. Gonzalez was designated for assignment after the trade was completed.  Veterans like Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis, and Ender Inciarte will look lead this young Braves squad in the hopes of getting the team in the win column more often in 2018.


Baltimore Orioles

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 19

First Game: Feb. 23 v. Tampa Bay Rays (ss)

Home Facility: Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: The biggest acquisition for the Orioles in the off-season was not trading Manny Machado, who will shift over to shortstop as Tim Beckham will take over the duties at third base. The O’s probable five-man rotation has an average age of 25 years old. In 2018, this young squad will battle it out in a strong American League East division.


Boston Red Sox

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 19

First Game: Feb. 23 v. Minnesota Twins

Home Facility: JetBlue Park, Fort Myers, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: Alex Cora, the new skipper for the Red Sox in 2018, will look to get his team going as they look to defend their 2017 American League East Crown. Boston has been rumored all winter long to be interested in J.D. Martinez, but as of this post, no signings have been made yet.


SLEEFS.com

Detroit Tigers

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 18

First Game: Feb. 23 at New York Yankees

Home Facility: Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: The Tigers finished in dead last in 2017 in the American League Central Division. As the Tigers look to turn around their unforgettable season, Miguel Cabrera will also look to raise his batting average to .300 again. In 2017, Cabrera batted (.249) below .300 for the first time in eight seasons. In the off-season the Tigers traded ian Kinsler to the LA Angels for OF Troy Montgomery and RHP Wilkel Hernandez and signed free agent OF Leonys Martin.


Houston Astros

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 19

First Game: Feb. 23 v. Washington Nationals

Home Facility: Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: The Defending 2017 World Series Champions made a splash in the off-season adding to their already stacked lineup as they look to stay on top. The Astros landed Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole for 3B Colin Moran, LF Jason Martin, RHP Joe Musgrove and RHP Michael Feliz.


Miami Marlins

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 19

First Game: Feb. 23 v. St. Louis Cardinals

Home Facility: Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, Jupiter, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: Well the fire sale began the day Derek Jeter was announced as one of the new Marlins owners. He has traded away, slugger Giancarlo Stanton, second baseman Dee Gordon, outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich and in return received an all-star second baseman in Starlin Castro and mainly prospects. There are also rumors Miami is looking to deal their talented catcher, J.T. Realmuto. The team will not resemble much of a major league squad but they have some exciting young talent like shortstop J.T. Riddle, who played significant time last season in the majors before his injury ended his season, power hitter Justin Bour still on the squad. The key will be getting the local fans to still be interested in another Marlins rebuilding team.


Minnesota Twins

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 19

First Game: Feb. 23 at Boston Red Sox

Home Facility: Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers, FL
Century Link Sports Complex

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: The Twins won 85 games in 2017 and entered the post season as one of the wild card teams, but did not advance past that one game. Their biggest splash in the off season was signing ex Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda who is not expected back on the mound until 2019, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. But they also added all star relievers Fernando Rodney, Zach Duke and Addison Reed. Gold Glove winner Byron Buxton will look to build on his breakout 2017 season and maybe add an all star selection to his growing trophy case. Injury Update: Ervin Santana had surgery to his middle finger on his throwing hand and will miss up to 10-12 weeks.


New York Mets

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 19

First Game: Feb. 23 v. Atlanta Braves

Home Facility: First Data Field, Port St. Lucie, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: The Mets have many question marks entering spring training and one big one is will the starters finally be able to finish the season together and avoid injury? Will new skipper Mickey Callaway be able to turn the teams misfortunes around and make them into instant contenders? Will new additions Jay Bruce, Adrian Gonzalez and Todd Frazier be enough to make the Mets better again? Will Yoenis Cespedes avoid the injury bug and be on the field for a full season? Many questions for the Mets and ones the fans hope all go in the teams favor. Circus Alert: The Mets invited non-roster outfielder Tim Tebow to spring camp.


SLEEFS.com

New York Yankees

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 19

First Game: Feb. 23 v Detroit Tigers

Home Facility: George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: What can be said about the Yankees other than, opposing pitchers may have a hard time keeping the ball inthe ball park in 2018. The Bronx Bombers added another weapon to their already explosive line-up as Giancarlo Stanton and his 59 home runs in 2017 will join Aaron Judge (52 home runs), Gary Sanchez (33 home run), and Didi Gregorius (25 home runs) as they look to get back in the postseason and win the title. New skipper Aaron Boone will look to continue with the development of this young team as they look to add to the Yankees dynasty.



Philadelphia Phillies

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 15

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 20

First Game: Feb. 23 at Toronto Blue Jays

Home Facility: Spectrum Field, Clearwater, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: In the off season the Phillies added all-star first baseman Carlos Santana, who has hit 174 home runs in eight seasons with the Cleveland Indians. They also signed free agent closer Francisco Rodriguez who saved 44 games in 2016 with the Detroit Tigers, but was released in June of 2017 by the Tigers. It has been eight seasons since the Phillies made the post season or even won more than 81 games, and without making any more moves, it may be another year of sub .500 baseball.


Pittsburgh Pirates

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 19

First Game: Feb. 23 at Tampa Bay Rays (ss)

Home Facility: LECOM Park, Bradenton, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: The Pirates angered their fan base when they made two signficant trades in the off season, by first sending Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros, and then two days later gift wrapped Andrew McCutchen and sent him to the San Francisco Giants. The Pirates have not made the post season since the 2015 season when they won 98 games and earned a wild card berth. But two sub .500 seasons and trading away their best player, may be a long season of Bucs fans.


St.  Louis Cardinals

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 19

First Game: Feb. 23 at Miami Marlins

Home Facility: Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, Jupiter, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training:  The Cardinals always find a way to put pressure on whomever is leading the NL Central Division. After a strong 2016 season where he hit 17 home runs and batted .300, all star shortstop Aledmys Diaz played in only 79 games in 2017, hitting just seven home runs, while batting .259.  Diaz was traded in December to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor outfield prospect J.B. Woodman.  The Cards also traded Stephen Piscotty after his numbers took a dive in 2017, mostly due to a leg injury in mid May and a groin injury in July. The Cards did make a splash by trading for Marcell Ozuna of the Miami Marlins for four players.  The in January, St. Louis sent Randal Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays for two RHP’s.


Tampa Bay Rays

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 14

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 19

First Game: Feb. 23 v Pittsburgh Pirates

Home Facility: Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: The Rays have not made the post season since 2013 and in December they traded all star and franchise player 3B Evan Longoria and cash to San Francisco Giants for SS Christian Arroyo, CF Denard Span, LHP Matt Krook and RHP Stephen Woods. The hope is that Arroyo turns into their stud third baseman. Unlikely to battle the Yankees or the Red Sox for the East Division crown, the Rays will continue with their rebuilding.


Toronto Blue Jays

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 15

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 20

First Game: Feb. 23 v Philadelphia Phillies

Home Facility: Dunedin Stadium, Dunedin, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: The Blue Jays received in a trade with the Cardinals, 2016 all star short stop Aledmys Diaz and also the San Diego Padres traded 2B Yangervis Solarte to Blue Jays for two minor leaguers. Outfielder Curtis Granderson, who will be back in the American League where he starred for 10 seasons and put up big numbers, siged a free agent contract to play in Canada. But Grandy-man isn’t the same ball player as he was, but should put up decent numbers for the Blue Jays. Randal Grichuk  is also a new addition to the roster as he came over in a trade with the Cardinals. All Star Jose Bautista elected to become a free agent on November 4th, but he has yet to either resign with the Blue Jays or with any other team.



Washington Nationals

Pitchers and Catchers First Workout: Feb. 15

Full-Squad First Workout: Feb. 21

First Game: Feb. 23 at Houston Astros

Home Facility: Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach, FL

Top Storyline Heading into Spring Training: The Nationals are poised to win another NL East Crown, and the only competition will be if the Mets starters have great comeback seasons. But the Nats look strong enough to win another division crown. In December the Nats added 1B Matt Adams to their already explosive line up, as well as re-signed LF Howie Kendrick.

Notes:

(ss) – Split Squad

David Conde

David Conde

Co-Founder/Executive Editor at Legends On Deck®
David is the Founder and Executive Editor of Legends On Deck®. He was a Senior Editor for MetsMerizedOnline, MetsMinors.net and Contributor for Hardballchat.com. David's idea forLegends on Deck is to be a site where passionate fans of the game have a place to read about their favorite baseball teams. The site is also for people who had a talent to write or even take photographs and have the platform to share. The passion of following the Minor Leagues can be seen all over the site as the players journey's are what what drives the LOD team to share their content. David's passion is making available a site that people can have fun sharing and reading.

You can also reach out to David at daconde@legendsondeck.com
David Conde