How are big names like Soto, Ohtani, Burnes doing with new teams in MLB spring training?

New York Yankees right fielder Juan Soto (22) celebrates after hitting a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth inning at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
New York Yankees right fielder Juan Soto (22) celebrates after hitting a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth inning at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Despite how slowly the MLB free agent market has moved at times this offseason, there have still been a myriad of signings and trades that have shifted the MLB landscape. Whether it was Juan Soto being sent to the New York Yankees, Shohei Ohtani joining the Los Angeles Dodgers, or Corbin Burnes teaming up with Adley Rutschman in Baltimore, there are several former MVPs, Cy Young winners, and All-Stars who find themselves on new teams heading into 2024.

As we approach the start of the regular season though, the hype that surrounded each of these players' signings may start to fade if they do not perform well during spring training. Although spring training is not the end-all, be-all when determining how well a player will perform during the regular season, struggles in March can sometimes dictate regression when the regular season comes around.

It certainly does not ease fans' minds when the big name their team signed during the offseason has difficulties putting up numbers against players who have never played in the majors before. On the other hand, if a player shows out for their new team in spring training, it can create newfound confidence in a fanbase looking to improve upon their previous season.

With that said, here are how each of the biggest names of the offseason are faring so far during spring training.

DH Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Dodgers

In just seven at-bats in Dodger blue, Shohei Ohtani has already shown why he's a $700 million man. Not only did Ohtani hit a home run in his first appearance of spring, but through appearances in three games, Ohtani has also gone 5-for-7 with a triple and that home run of course. He's also walked twice. That's good for a 2.207 OPS.

Ohtani has stated he wants to get in at least 50 ABs this spring, and the Dodgers seem intent on getting him to that figure. At this rate though, he might be too dangerous to get that many plate appearances.

SP Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Los Angeles Dodgers

Although Yamamoto has only made one appearance in the spring, he's certainly made an impression on fans. Yamamoto pitched just two innings against the Texas Rangers. Still, his devastating splitter and fastball were on full display versus the reigning World Series champs.

Yamamoto showed out with two scoreless innings, surrendering only one hit, while striking out three. He was insanely efficient with his pitches too, needing just 19 to get through those innings, 16 of which he threw for strikes.

SP Corbin Burnes, Baltimore Orioles

Moving to someone who is not setting a great first impression, 2021 NL Cy Young winner, Corbin Burnes has pitched just 2.2 innings this spring but has surrendered four hits, including a home run, and three earned runs, good for a 10.13 ERA. On the bright side, Burnes doesn't seem to have lost his strikeout material, as he has recorded five strikeouts thus far.

OF Juan Soto, New York Yankees

One of the first big moves of the offseason, Juan Soto has dazzled in his limited spring training at-bats thus far, recording six hits in nine at-bats, including three dingers.

Soto's career-high in home runs is 35, but at Yankee Stadium, Soto could set new standards for himself. If spring training is any indication, Soto could earn AL MVP honors by July.

OF Joey Gallo, Washington Nationals

Hidden amongst all the other big names that have changed teams this offseason, two-time All-Star and Gold Glover Joey Gallo finds himself a member of the Washington Nationals this season. He's not off to the greatest start in spring training though.

Gallo has just one hit in seven at-bats this spring, but has still struck out three times. Half of the outs he has recorded have come via punch out. In all fairness, Gallo has never done well in the batting average department during the spring, with a career .238 average in March. However, Gallo has historically done well with his power in spring training, with a career .499 prior to the regular season.

Gallo is known for being a streaky player, so his poor spring training shouldn't concern Nats fans. That said, the last time Gallo hit under .200 in the spring was 2020, and he went on to slash .181/.301/.378 with an 87 OPS+ during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

OF Teoscar Hernandez, Los Angeles Dodgers

2021 All-Star Teoscar Hernandez has seen the field a lot so far in spring training for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has 18 at-bats and six hits, three of which have been doubles. Hernandez could be in for arguably the best season of his career, surrounded by several great hitters in the Dodgers lineup, and spring training has shown no indication otherwise. Hernandez is slashing .333/.400/.500 through seven spring appearances.

OF Jung Hoo Lee, San Francisco Giants

The first of three big moves for the Giants so far this offseason, Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee has dominated spring training thus far to the tune of a .455/.500/.818 triple-slash. Lee has five hits in 11 ABs, with a double and home run to boot. He also has a stolen base under his belt as well.

OF Jorge Soler, San Francisco Giants

Despite being signed rather late in the offseason, Jorge Soler has still appeared in four games for the Giants already and has posted an uncharacteristically high batting average so far, recording five hits in 10 at-bats, all of which have been singles. Soler has also struck out only twice thus far. While the Giants obviously signed Soler because of the power he brings to the table, I'm sure the team would not mind a .280 average season if his power takes a dip.

SP Tyler Glasnow, Los Angeles Dodgers

Despite missing tons of time due to injury in his career, Glasnow has shown no signs of slowing down when healthy, and 2024 spring training is no exception. The former Pittsburgh Pirate and Tampa Bay Ray has looked sensational through 4.2 innings this spring, allowing only four hits and one earned run, good for a 1.93 ERA.

Glasnow's control has been a little concerning as he has walked two batters in that time, but that is nothing compared to just six strikeouts. Sure, Glasnow is still striking out opponents at a rate of 11.57 per nine innings, but that is a far cry from the 16.57 and 16.88 marks he put up in 2021 and 2020 respectively, the last times he pitched during spring training at all.

OF Tyler O'Neill, Boston Red Sox

A former MVP candidate, Tyler O'Neill has not been able to replicate his incredible 2021 season. Many fans thought a change of scenery would be just what O'Neill needed to lean him back toward his 2021 prowess. Of course, O'Neill has yet to take an at-bat in Fenway as a member of the Red Sox, but his spring training numbers certainly aren't easing fans' concerns.

Through five games and 12 at-bats, O'Neill has just two hits and zero extra-base hits. O'Neill has been incredibly patient at the plate, having walked in three (20%) of his plate appearances, but he has still struck out four times. O'Neill has improved his walk rate in each of the last three seasons and could be on pace for a fourth, but unless he starts demonstrating the power he displayed in 2021, his strikeout rate is far too high to feel good about his 2024 outlook.

SP Luis Severino, New York Mets

Rumors have swirled of Luis Severino tipping his pitches for the Yankees in 2023. The Mets are hoping that to be the case, because if Severino can return to his 2022 form, he would be an excellent addition for the team.

So far in spring, Severino has been solid. Although he has only pitched two innings, he has yet to give up a hit or walk. He's gone six up, six down. That said, he does only have one punch out in those innings. The sample size is small, but Severino looks very capable. Even during his struggles a year ago, Severino still boasted an average fastball of 96.6 miles per hour, his highest mark since 2018. There is certainly some gas left in the tank with Severino, who is still just 30 years old. If he can avoid tipping his pitches again and can stay healthy, the Mets may have gotten the steal of the offseason.

RP Craig Kimbrel, Baltimore Orioles

Stop me if you've heard this one before Phillies fans.

In just one inning with the Orioles, Kimbrel has already surrendered a run. In all fairness, it was a home run, which can be very luck-based, but it's still not a great sign for a team that is looking to maintain their 3.55 bullpen ERA from a year ago (third-best in the American League).

Kimbrel will almost certainly start the season as the closer for the Orioles, which is a good or bad thing depending on who you ask. Although we are only two seasons removed from when Kimbrel posted a stellar 0.49 ERA with the Chicago Cubs in the first half of the 2021 season, he has since failed to record a season with a sub-3.00 ERA.

That said, Kimbrel's struggles have been mostly overblown due to his poor 2023 NLCS. In reality, Kimbrel blew just five saves during the 2023 season, which ranked tied for the 25th-most in MLB. His 82 percent save percentage was also among the best in the league.

3B Eugenio Suarez, Arizona Diamondbacks

Once a back-to-back top-20 finisher for NL MVP, Eugenio Suarez has certainly fallen back to Earth since his remarkable 2018 and 2019 seasons. Suarez now finds himself a member of the reigning National League pennant winners and will look to provide value at third base, where the Diamondbacks recorded -1.9 WAR in 2023, according to Baseball-Reference, between Emmanuel Rivera, Josh Rojas, and Evan Longoria among others.

So far, Suarez has looked solid, recording two hits in six at-bats. Unfortunately for D-Backs fans, Suarez's strikeout problems have not gone anywhere. Of the four outs he has made, Suarez has struck out three times. This shouldn't be a shock considering Suarez led the American League in strikeouts in both 2023 and 2022, but for a team looking to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, Suarez's strikeouts could become a major issue in pivotal moments as the season progresses. If his power numbers continue to regress as well, this could turn out to be a poor deal for Arizona.

MLB News: Diamondbacks veteran was 'blindsided' getting cut before Arizona's World Series run

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How MLB stars Soto, Ohtani, Burnes are doing in spring training