Typically, I don’t invest too much stock into Spring Training performances. However, there are times when certain players must have an impressive spring showing to lock down a job. These situations(Yankee/Met pitching, etc.) are worth monitoring. Other times, a player will have an absolutely filthy Spring that owners need take note of. Sometimes, hot hitting or pitching stretches translate into the season. Sometimes, they don’t. But we need know who has played well this spring.

Let’s dive into that list:

Hot Like The Desert:

1. Justin Upton, OF, Diamondbacks: I’ve bought into the hype and his numbers have backed it up this spring. Upton has hit 6 HRs in 52 at-bats with a .475 OBP to boot. The kid is good. I’ve pretty moved all-in one the 22-year old. I have the jersey, hat, and Christmas tree ornament. He’s my Chris Johnson(pre-2009) of fantasy baseball. Top 5 overall potential available in the 2nd round. I’ll take that every day of the week.

2. Drew Stubbs, OF, Reds : Not many people are familiar with the Cincinnati speedster. Stubbs will start the season in the Reds outfield. Stubbs broke onto the scene with the Reds in 2009. In 42 games last year, Stubbs hit 8 home run in 180 at-bats and stole 10 bases. It is a relatively small sample size, but he has been good this spring. He has hit 5 HRs in 54 at-bats. His strike out total is a little high(15), but I’m not expecting the world from him right away.

3. Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins: We do this same song and dance every Spring. Liriano has displayed some impressive performances thus far. In 20 innings, Liriano has struck out 30 hitters and only walked 5. Liriano teases us with his potential every spring and then he’ll get injured in April. He reminds me a lot of a young Johan, but one who can never stay healthy. He’s worth a late-round flyer.

4. Jeff Niemann, SP, Rays: Being a Yankee fan, this dude scares me. Niemann is listed at 6’9, 260 lbs. He finished 2009 with a 13-6 record and a 3.94 ERA. And this was Niemann’s first season as a starter. This spring, Niemann has struck out 24 hitters in 25 innings while only allowing 7 runs and 3 walks. Coupled with Matt Garza, James Shields, David Price, and uber-prospect Wade Davis, Niemann could be the most impressive of the bunch. The Rays scare me this year.

5. Rick Nolasco, SP, Marlins: He’s probably had the most impressive spring of any player. Nolasco finished the spring with a 3-0 record. In 25 innings, he has struck out 21 hitters and only allowed 1 walk. That’s a 21:1 K/BB ratio! This is huge for Nolasco’s confidence as he heads into the season. He’s slated to be the team’s #2 pitcher behind ace, Josh Johnson.

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