5 MLB Teams With (Happy) Surprises to Start 2014 Season
There was plenty of cause for concern for Major League Baseball teams during spring training, with the Braves and A’s pitchers taking the worst hits of anyone. However, by the time clubs broke camp and headed north, some surprises had changed their outlook for the better.
Spring training surprises don’t exclusively involve young players finding their way in Cactus League or Grapefruit League action. In many cases, the revival of a MLB veteran’s career will give a team a boost at great value. The low-risk, high-reward gambles GMs make allow players the chance to prove they can still produce on the big-league level. Players returning after missing years to injuries also have something to prove. Here are five teams that got pleasant surprises to start the 2014 MLB regular season.
1. Oakland A’s: Jesse Chavez has the goods to fill a rotation spot.
Oakland got terrible news in spring training about Jarrod Parker, who will miss over a year due to Tommy John surgery. Another injury to A.J. Griffin (expected to miss April) left the A’s down two starters. Into that void stepped Jesse Chavez, the journeyman starter who shined in Cactus League action for Manager Bob Melvin. Chavez led all pitchers with four wins in the spring and an ERA of 2.74, which ballooned after one bad inning at the end of his final start.
At a salary below $500,000, the A’s are ecstatic Chavez found his groove in 2014. They will need help at least three times through the rotation, but Chavez has the chance to force himself into the A’s mix for the long term.