MLB

'Beyond impressive' – Springer excited about youthful Blue Jays after Spring Training bow

By Sports Desk March 03, 2021

Toronto Blue Jays recruit George Springer is excited about the team's young core, describing them as "beyond impressive" after making his Spring Training debut.

Springer, who joined the Blue Jays on a six-year, $150million contract via free agency – the largest deal in franchise history, debuted in Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

A three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger, Springer managed his first Spring Training hit against the Phillies.

The arrival of MLB World Series champion Springer from the Houston Astros caused a splash, his wealth of postseason experience complimenting a young group of stars in Toronto – Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio.

In Toronto, Bichette is the first shortstop in MLB history to have a .300-plus batting average and a .500-plus slugging percentage in each of his first two seasons (minimum 125 plate appearances in both seasons), per Stats Perform.

Blue Jays team-mate Biggio became the first player in league history to have at least 20 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 100 walks through his first 159 career games (that is how many games he has played so far).

As for Guerrero, he is the only MLB player currently 21 or younger who has at least 100 career RBIs.

Based on age at the time of games, the Blue Jays had the most hits (234), runs (148), home runs (38), RBIs (137), XBH (93) and BB (103) in 2020.

"A lot of people will say that they're young, but I think they're advanced for their age," Springer said post-game.

"I was having a conversation and you just kind of realise the talent it takes to play at this level at age 21, 22.

"It's beyond impressive to be in the big leagues that young and to do the things all these guys can do."

Springer impressed on his Spring Training bow for the Blue Jays, who will open their 2021 MLB season against American League (AL) East rivals the New York Yankees on April 1.

Batting leadoff at TD Ballpark on Tuesday, 2017 World Series MVP Springer hit a single as a designated hitter.

"I generally just see the ball and hit the ball," Springer said. "As Spring Training goes along, you're not facing a new guy every inning, you're starting to face the same guy over and over again.

"Sequences are starting to change, the game plans are starting to change, so as the spring progresses, it becomes more of a season-like feel."

Springer leads MLB with 136 home runs from the lead-off spot since 2015. The Blue Jays as a team have 129 homers from the lead-off spot over that time, per Stats Perform.

He has 39 lead-off home runs in his career – fourth most all-time behind Rickey Henderson (73), Ian Kinsler (48) and Brady Anderson (44).

Springer has recorded seven career World Series home runs – most from the lead-off spot all-time – and he is 19-for-56 (.339) in the World Series in his career. No other current Blue Jays player has a World Series hit in their career.

The 31-year-old's 174 home runs since debuting in MLB via Houston are third most by an Astro in a player's first seven career seasons, behind only Jeff Bagwell (187) and Lance Berkman (180).

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo added: "I like when he leads off like we did today. I like that. But we'll see."

Related items

  • Howe taking plenty of positives despite frustrating Newcastle campaign Howe taking plenty of positives despite frustrating Newcastle campaign

    Eddie Howe was keen to look at the positives after Newcastle United secured seventh place in the Premier League on Sunday.

    Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes were among the goalscorers as Newcastle won 4-2 at Brentford to finish their Premier League campaign.

    The victory ensured a seventh-place finish, and a Manchester City victory over Manchester United in next Saturday's FA Cup final will confirm Newcastle's place in next season's Europa Conference League.

    While this season did not quite live up to the heroics of last term, which saw the Magpies finish in the Champions League spots, Howe still feels it has been a successful campaign.

    "It summed up our season," Howe told BBC Sport. "We weren't totally secure at the back, but great credit to the players. They've done their job - now we wait and see.

    "We anticipated after losing against Manchester United that our control of the [European] situation had gone. It's never a nice situation, but whatever happens, happens.

    "We have issues to solve defensively. If we can do that, next season could be another season of really strong performances. This was a season that could have been better, but a good season overall.

    "We're a really united club. I think we're still moving forward, so there's a lot to be positive about."

  • Postecoglou will not settle until Tottenham hit his 'lofty ambitions' Postecoglou will not settle until Tottenham hit his 'lofty ambitions'

    Ange Postecoglou warned Tottenham he will not settle until the club hits the "lofty ambitions" targeted in his mind.

    Spurs were 3-0 victors over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday, ending their Premier League season with a convincing win to finish fifth in the table.

    Postecoglou voiced his frustrations after Tuesday's 2-0 defeat to Manchester City ended their hopes of Champions League football next term.

    The Spurs head coach was far more relaxed after his side performed well in Sheffield, with Dejan Kulusevski twice on target, along with a goal for Pedro Porro against the relegated Blades.

    Yet Postecoglou insisted his ambitions remain high as the Australian attempts to take Tottenham to the next level.

    "Contrary to my general demeanour, I have loved every minute of it," former Celtic boss Postecoglou said of his first season in charge of Tottenham.

    "It is a great challenge in the Premier League and taking over a big club that didn't have a great year last year. You understand it is not going to run smoothly, but I have enjoyed the whole season.

    "I have got some lofty ambitions for the football club and until we reach that point I am not going to be smiling too much.

    "As I said, all any manager wants is maximum effort and I have got that from everyone involved. I have enjoyed it and looking forward to pushing on from here."

    Asked to summarise his first campaign in England's top league, Postecoglou continued: "It's been good, it's been eventful, it's had a bit of everything.

    "I am obviously not delighted with the way we finished the season but in fairness to the players and staff we have been in the top five all season, in a year where there was a fair bit of upheaval.

    "We finished eighth last year, player turnover, different football, different way of training, it is not easy to maintain a level when you are trying to do that.

    "Even in our tough periods this year we have still been competitive for the most part."

    Kulusevski scored his seventh and eighth Premier League goals of the season (36 outings), more than he managed in his first two league campaigns with Tottenham combined (seven across 48 games).

    Only in the 2019-20 season with Parma has the Sweden winger scored more times in a league season (10 in Serie A), and Postecoglou hailed Kulusevski's returns.

    He added: "I thought Deki was good. He's worked awfully hard this year without a lot of reward in the front third.

    "We thought playing him through middle today would help us with his mobility and ability to run in behind. He did well.

    "He always works hard but it's that sort of final third where we need him to get rewards and he got them today so he did well."

  • Walker: Man City driven on by creating history Walker: Man City driven on by creating history

    Kyle Walker believes Manchester City were spurred on by creating history to a fourth straight Premier League title.

    A Phil Foden double and a Rodri strike saw City beat West Ham 3-1 on Sunday as they claimed a fourth consecutive Premier League crown, finishing two points above Arsenal.

    In doing so, City became the first team ever to win England's top division four times in a row, and Walker feels that was one of the key motivations behind the team finishing top of the Premier League pile yet again.

    When asked if creating history had driven him and his team-mates on, Walker told Sky Sports: "I think so, I think so. We went out of the Champions League, got into the FA Cup final, but to do this, make it four in a row, it made it something special.

    "It has been spoken about all year what we can achieve and the history we can make. But it is about the finer details. It was down to just one game and that game was West Ham United. We get past that then we make history, but more importantly we claim the Premier League again.

    "It is a very, very tough league to win. I looked at the Italian league, German league, Spanish league, the winners are 10, 15 points clear. Fair play to Arsenal and Liverpool for what they have done throughout the season, making sure they push us right to the limit."

    Walker turns 34 later this month but has shown little signs of slowing down, playing an integral role again this season on his way to a sixth Premier League title of his decorated career.

    Walker still feels he is capable of playing at the top level, saying: "I feel young. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I feel young, I feel great, I still have my pace.

    "I come to training every day wanting to learn. Once that goes then it is probably time to pack up, but this group of lads keeps you on your toes. They keep on you to keep improving every day."

    Walker has been City's captain this season, making his 300th appearance for the club in the title-securing win over West Ham.

    The defender was keen to emphasise that it has been a collective effort this term, though, explaining: "I am the man at the front and I wear the armband, but I don't put myself above anyone else. We are a team.

    "There are four captains including myself, and we all pull our weight. I am just the man they've picked to wear the armband which I am very grateful for. To be able to lift the trophy in this scenario, the four in a row, it is a dream come true."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.