Spring Training is a time for MLB players to ease their way back into full game speed before the start of the regular season.
Many commonly refer to the month of exhibition games to be meaningless, which is technically true.
While it has no real carryover into the season, a good spring can help catapult a player into a starting job or set them up for success in the season.
However, a bad spring can also set a player back and get them off on a slow start.
Here are three of the biggest names who are struggling so far this spring.
1. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
Sanchez has some of the best talent of any big-league backstop, especially when he’s at the plate.
He proved this early on in his career, as he quickly became one of the most devastating hitters at the catcher position.
However, struggles in recent years has drawn criticism from Yankees’ fans who expect more from the young slugger.
Gary Sanchez on being named the Opening Day catcher after a tough season last year:
"I'm focused on this year. Whatever happened last year, you gotta leave that in the past" pic.twitter.com/uFe9SlnCNT
— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) March 22, 2021
After hitting just .186 in 2018 and .147 in 2020, fans have questioned whether Sanchez has what it takes to stay in the Yankees’ lineup
A quick start in this year’s Spring Training had people excited that Sanchez turned a corner.
Since then, he has struggled to hit at a very high level.
In 34 at-bats, Sanchez has hit at a lowly .176 batting average with 14 strikeouts.
He does lead the Yankees in home runs with three, still showing off the game-changing power that he possesses.
This may not be a good sign for the catcher as he once against has shown an inability to produce against major league talent.
2. Cody Bellinger, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
After winning the National League MVP award in 2018, Bellinger struggled in 2020.
In the shortened season, he hit just .239 with 12 home runs.
However, he helped lead the Dodgers to their first World Series title in 32 years.
— LasMayores (@LasMayores) March 18, 2021
Because of this, many can expect some lingering effects of the World Series hangover as the Dodgers are the team on everyone’s radar.
So far this spring, Bellinger has yet to produce at his usual level.
He is hitting just .133 in 15 at-bats, with one home run to go along with that.
While you can’t invest too much thought into it, he is playing nowhere near the level fans have become accustomed to.
Though the Dodgers are stacked, Bellinger is a critical piece that they need to perform well this year if they hope to defend their title.
3. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Bauer made waves during this offseason when he signed with the Dodgers for a massive three-year, $102 million contract.
It was well earned after the righty won the NL Cy Young Award with a dominant season in the 60-game format.
However, this has put a big target on his back as much of the league is out to get him.
While he hasn’t been horrible this spring, he has opened himself up as a villain in the league.
In 17.2 innings, he has posted a 4.08 ERA and given up five home runs.
The most notable of these was his most recent outing against the Seattle Mariners, where he was shelled in the fifth inning as he gave up three home runs.
The Mariners just hit three home runs in four batters against Trevor Bauer pic.twitter.com/ij0fK6FoQI
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) March 23, 2021
This was followed by some interesting comments after the game that drew questions and criticisms from fans.
If this is any indication, there is a lot of pressure on Bauer to succeed this season.
So far, he hasn’t quite performed at the same level this spring.