Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
While there are certainly quite a few players that are playing very well this spring, and some unexpectedly so, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the elephant in the room; Dontrelle Willis is throwing well, throwing strikes and getting people out! For a player that had basically just been written off as someone associated with a sunk cost, Dontrelle has pitched about as well as anyone could have hoped for so far this spring. Of course the doubts still exist, so he'll have to continue to be effective to keep the doubters at bay, but a 1.29 ERA through seven innings of work is certainly nothing to scoff at. If Willis can keep this up as teams start to round into form over the final couple weeks of spring training, there could be some real optimism that Willis could be a starting pitcher in Detroit this season. I don't think anyone would have come within 100 yards of predicting that this winter, so if that's not a pleasant surprise, I don't know what is.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Austin Jackson. I never doubted, and therefore have never been surprised by the raw talent, but I have been very surprised and very pleased with the polish his game has shown this spring. His full game has been on display. He's shown very good outfield defense according to most scouts I've spoken with. He has worked counts, drawn walks, and limited strikeouts. He's even flashed a bit of power, driving the ball on a line to the gaps with regularity. Jackson has always been a supremely talented individual, and it was just a matter of becoming a baseball player. There was some early spring trepidation that Jackson would need more time in the minor leagues, but he's putting that to bed with a stellar performance. He is the surprise of the spring so far, and it is a great surprise for Tiger fans.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
A couple of things that have stood out to me has been the offensive performances of Austin Jackson and Magglio Ordonez. There is no question that Jackson is under the microscope after coming over in the Curtis Granderson trade, and thus far, he is hitting .433, so hopefully he can carry that over into the regular season.
Ordonez struggled in the first half of last year before recovering in the second half, and the veteran seems to be building off of the latter. Ordonez is hitting .346 with two home runs this spring, and if he can regain his power stroke, he will be able to provide protection for the middle of the order.
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