Diaz brought home Eric Fryer with his fourth-inning sac fly after having been driven in himself by Yadier Molina's second-inning two-bagger. Now in full possession of the starting shortstop job, the second-year phenom will look to build on his stellar .300/.369/.510 line from 2016 in the coming season.
The lineup order should be disregarded as Crawford won't be batting leadoff come Opening Day. The 29-year-old saw his power numbers dip back to regular levels in 2016 after exploding for 21 homers the year prior. While the homers regressed, Crawford actually improved his batting average (.275) and on-base percentage (.342) while maintaining the 84 RBI high watermark he set in 2016. If he can maintain those levels, he will have value as a shortstop despite not hitting for plus power or stealing a ton of bases.
The 23-year-old has posted strong offensive numbers in the high minors over the last two seasons, but would still need a lot to go his way this spring to break camp on the Mets' 25-man roster. Cecchini will likely begin the season back at Triple-A Las Vegas to continue working on his defense, but could be among the first call-ups when injuries hit the team's infield.
It's another tool for D'Arnaud as he competes against Jace Pederson for a primary utility role this season. The right-hander played all other infield and outfield positions last season and now could be used as a spell for Freddie Freeman if all goes well. D'Arnaud hit just .245 in 84 games with the Braves last year and seems set for a reserve role this coming season, regardless of where he plays on the field.
Nats manager Dusty Baker made it clear that he hasn't decided on an Opening Day batting order, but Turner will most likely hit first or second during the regular season. The 23-year-old, who is 35-for-43 (81.4 percent) on the basepaths in 100 games to begin his big league career, figures to get frequent green lights in 2017 no matter what slot in the order he occupies.
The fact that Alcantara was able to make the start for Cincinnati would seem to indicate his thumb is feeling much better after spraining it back in December. The former Cub and Athletic is most likely a long shot at this point to make the Reds' opening day roster, but that could change with a very impressive spring training performance.
Cozart confirmed that his knee is fine and that he's just working on getting his timing back. "There are no issues with me, we're just going to take it slow these first couple of games," Cozart said. "It was weird yesterday, we were doing that 27 outs [drill] and hitting and running out of the box, and having some game action on the field. It's just a whole different thing on your body. I'm ready for it. I told Bryan, physically, I feel great. I'm ready. We play a lot of games. I don't need to play 30 games or whatever we've got. I'll get my timing down."
He was informed his services weren't required, and ended up only missing a few hours of camp. Turner's services are very much required by the Nats as he looks to build on last season's impressive rookie campaign, so the club can consider themselves fortunate he didn't get dragged into a case that lasted for weeks.
For a rebuilding club, the Braves actually have a fairly set starting lineup following the acquisition of Brandon Phillips, so playing time could be tough to come by for the team's bench. D'Arnaud did play everywhere but pitcher, catcher and first base in 2016, however, giving him a leg up in the battle. The team also lacks any depth in the outfield -- starters Matt Kemp, Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis are currently the only outfielders on the 40-man roster -- so if d'Arnaud or Peterson show they can handle center field on a semi-regular basis, they could see enough at-bats to become a viable option in deep NL-only leagues.
Turner understands that even MLB superstars must fulfill their civic obligations. He shouldn't miss more than a few days as he returns to D.C. Turner, the Nationals' starting shortstop, is coming off a breakout year in which he finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting.