- Right-hander Jorge Guzman [in the photo above] didn't start the game for Charleston on Monday but he was arguably the most impressive, striking out two batters in two scoreless innings of relief. It wasn't the zeroes he was putting up that turned heads, however, it was the 98-102 mph range he sat in for the duration of his outing that had some jaws dropping. He even snapped off a couple of impressive changeups to right-handed batters too. He did walk the first batter he faced on some close pitches but quickly erased him by inducing an immediate double-play ball.
- With both Starlin Castro and Gary Sanchez [blasted a two-run home run to left-centerfield] each batting once every inning for the first five innings in Charleston's 3-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday, not many of the regulars got a lot of at-bats in the game. However, Hoy Jun Park had a very Park-like day in the victory, going 1-2 with a walk and a stolen base. He even flew out to somewhat deep right field in his first at-bat and was in total command of the strike zone. He appeared to be in mid-season form already.
Charleston Starting Lineup: Hoy Jun Park, Wilkerman Garcia, Blake Rutherford, Dermis Garcia, Estevan Florial, Leonardo Molina, Diego Castillo, Brandon Wagner, Audie Afenir, and Jason Lopez.
- Albert Abreu, the headliner in the Brian McCann trade this offseason with the Houston Astros, actually started the game for Charleston on Monday and looked brilliant right out of the gate, striking out two of the first three batters he faced on some nasty breaking balls. No slouch on the radar gun either, he was sitting 95-96 mph over his three-inning stint of scoreless baseball, and showing a solid three-pitch mix overall. He struggled with his command in the third inning though, walking two batters but limiting the damage by striking out two more to get out of the inning unscathed.
- Blake Rutherford, last year's first round pick, didn't get a hit in the game on Monday but still looked quite good in the process. He grounded out very sharply with a quick one-hopper to shortstop in his first at-bat. He later got called out looking on what appeared to be a blatant ball three before drawing a walk in his third and final plate appearance. Physically he looks a step quicker than last year too.
- Like Rutherford, right-hander Rony Garcia looked a bit more impressive than his final line. Sitting mostly 92-94 mph with a lot of late-life explosion to his fastball, the lone run he allowed in his one inning of work got on base after the batter reached base safely after striking out on a pitch that went back to the backstop. One batter later he allowed Toronto's first run by giving up a triple down the opposite field line, the only hit he gave up. He struck out two batters though in the inning and the stuff [not the command] appeared to be in mid-season form.
- Picking up where he left off last season, first baseman Brandon Wagner went a perfect 1-1 with a walk and a triple of his own down the right field line in the victory.
- Catcher Jason Lopez fell into the Rutherford-Rony Garcia camp as somebody who looked a lot better than his final line. He officially went 0-1 with a hit by pitch, but the one out was a laser rocket right to the centerfielder and later stole a base after getting hit by a pitch in his second and final plate appearance. Defensively he had some really exceptional blocks, particularly one on a nasty Rony Garcia breaking ball in the dirt.
- Oswaldo Cabrera went 0-2 with a strikeout in the game, including a liner right to the shortstop, but it's the way he has reported to camp that is quite noticeable. He appears to put on a solid 15 pounds or so, mostly in his lower-half too. He looks a lot stronger than last year.
- Wellington Cacares, one of last year's newest International free agents, followed suit with the other Charleston hurlers on Monday and looked very strong as he brought some serious heat as well. He too was sitting in the mid-90s already and struck out one batter in his two scoreless innings. Showing a decent secondary pitch package too, he did walk one batter though.