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Justus Sheffield dominates, Mitch and Showmingo obliterate, Mariners dismantle Brewers B-team

Seattle Mariners Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today was the first split-squad day of the Spring and I’d be hard-pressed to say which group had a more impressive showing. The Mariners ran out a neat lineup in that game, and delivered an exciting performance.

Ryon Healy homered and recorded another hit, Kyle Lewis crushed a homer as well, and Jarred Kelenic went 2-for-2 with a triple. Julio Rodriguez received just one PA but hit a line drive up the middle that was knocked down by a nice diving play, while Braden Bishop recorded at least one line drive single. Seattle defeated the Dinos, and a few videos of plate appearances there can be found in the Game Thread.

But enough about the video-less peons, let’s get to the MLB vs. MLB action. The Mariners ran out what is likely to be 8/9ths of their starting lineup against Brewers RHP Corbin Burnes, and once again the offense answered the challenge. Burnes spent the second half of 2018 as a solid member of the Brew Crew’s bullpen, recording a 2.61/3.79/3.39 ERA/FIP/DRA in 38.0 innings but the 24-year-old was the 35th-overall prospect in baseball per FanGraphs and his future likely remains in the rotation.

Today the Mariners put a hurting on him, and had several solid showings, including...

  • Mitch Haniger. He’s looked ready all spring and today was no different. Haniger hit two laser line drives today - one just foul in the 2nd, one fair and 400 feet.
  • If you’re into power, though, the big show was the biggest man in the lineup. Domingo Santana struck a blow of vengeance, relocating a Corbin Burnes breaking ball and Scott Servais’ attention to the left field beer garden.
  • Jay Bruce had his best day so far, ripping three singles, all back up the middle. Anthony Swarzak appears to still be facing lingering shoulder issues, but this member of the salary dump due looks fully healthy. He made a slick play on a chopper to start a double play and help Nick Rumbelow get a 1-2-3 inning in the 3rd.
  • Dee Gordon walked! Twice! In one game! Buy a lottery ticket and put some money down because the lanky leadoff man has accrued 1/3rd of his 2018 season BB total. He’s also surpassed his walk total from last spring (2) in a third of the PAs. It’s Spring Training, but the approach has undeniably been different (and better) thus far. He also stole a base following one walk, hopefully building a positive association with the experience for future reference.
  • Justus Sheffield worked just two innings today as expected, but he was absolutely stellar all the same. He’s mentioned multiple times his efforts to refine his changeup over the winter, and it looked dynamite today.

Sheffield was in fine form today, and even his misses were just off the plate. Sheffield took home a bag full of swings and misses today, and looked every bit like a Top-50 prospect with starter potential.

  • The supporting cast didn’t provide quite the same excitement as in previous days, with many over on the backfields. Ichiro slapped a single up the middle and was driven in by a José Lobaton double*. *the ball went through 1B Tyler Saladino’s wickets, but it was also hit at a blistering pace, so good process-good result. Tim Beckham also checked in with a nice line drive single off Burnes, but Dan Altavilla lacked the command of his earlier outings.
  • All three Brewers runs came off solo homers, two off of Tommy Milone and one off Matt Tenuta. Milone and his tattoo arm sleeve will likely devour some innings in Tacoma.
  • Shawn Armstrong looked far better than his last outing, striking out the side on a few nasty curveballs. Armstrong isn’t a proven bullpen piece, but he might be one of the team’s better arms this year, particularly if his command shows up more often than not.
  • J.P. Crawford was a late highlight. Several of the M’s top prospects and young talents have had blistering starts in Peoria, but Crawford has yet to show out. Today he put something nice in his ledger with a blistering line drive that he legged out into a triple.

Seattle would win 7-3 as a final, with South African Tayler Scott putting together a solid final inning. Tomorrow Seattle is in KC, with no TV bafflingly, but we’re closer than ever to the season’s outset.