JUPITER, Fl. (KMOV.com) -- The second day of live bullpen sessions took place Wednesday, with Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver and Miles Mikolas- 4 of the 5 projected rotation members- all getting work against hitters.
For many it was the first time they saw Mikolas in action, given his most recent work was overseas in Japan.
The first impression from Cardinal hitters was positive.
“It looked good, man. It was exploding out of his hand. Today I was tracking more than anything, so just seeing what he was throwing,” Kolten Wong said. “You can see it has an extra gear when it gets to you.”
Mikolas’ fastball had easy velocity when released and the 29-year-old worked every pitch down in the zone. Despite it being early in camp, his first session against hitters painted a clear picture as to why the Cardinals found him so intriguing.
Martinez next in line
Carlos Martinez will follow Jack Flaherty on the starter schedule, as the Cardinal ace was tapped to start Saturday’s game in Port St. Lucie.
Martinez threw his first live bullpen session Tuesday and will take the hill in game action against the Mets this weekend, which would allow him to comfortably start six games this spring if desired.
Voit getting a look
With Matt Carpenter in a holding pattern as he rests his back, Luke Voit will get plenty of opportunities at first base early in camp. Manager Mike Matheny said “without question” first base will be a position ripe for players to showcase themselves as Carpenter slowly works toward a return, and Voit can parlay that into an extended look.
The 27-year old came up to the big club last season in June and hit .254 with four homers, nine doubles and 18 RBI in 114 at bats.
This spring he’s streamlined his swing to shorten up, and will have get plenty of at bats to show his work. As with every player hoping to crack the 25-man roster, converting those chances into successes is the difference between Triple-A and The Show.
“Come out here and make us watch you,” Matheny said. “We go in without our minds made up. We’ve got some ideas, but come out here and make us change our minds if [you] think our minds are made up.”
Voit should look to Jose Martinez if he needs inspiration. The lanky 29-year-old was the beneficiary of open lineup spots early in spring, and made the most of every moment on the field.
He was a monster in 2017 camp, converting his 50 at bats into a .380 batting average and 1.248 OPS. He hit the second most homers (4) tied for second in doubles (6) and led the team in walks (12).
“[Voit] is going to get opportunities. Every one of these guys is going to get opportunities. Jose was one of those last spring,” Matheny said. “He probably wasn’t that much in the mix of the conversation, then you give him an at bat, then another one and it keeps looking right and we have to figure out way to make him a part of it.”
When the regular season started, he broke camp with the team and continued his run. In 272 at bats he hit .309 and slugged .518. He launched 14 homers and drove in 46 runs. This spring, he’s a lot closer to a lock than a long shot to make the roster. Voit could be next if he follows in his footsteps.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for… Dippin'''’ Dots?
John Brebbia faced live hitters Wednesday and was tasked with pitching to both Dexter Fowler and Marcell Ozuna. The 27-year-old reliever decided to make it interesting, offering to buy ice cream for whichever batter hit it the farthest off him.
Ozuna took the crown, but requested Dippin’ Dots instead of traditional ice cream. Now Brebbia has quite the challenge ahead of him. Despite being dubbed “The Ice Cream of the Future” for thirty years, the frozen treat isn’t exactly found on every corner. Brebbia said in the clubhouse Wednesday after practice he’s really counting on a stand inside Roger Dean Stadium having Dippin’ Dots, or else paying up may be tough.