Notable MLB Performances From the Opening Weekend of the 2023 Season

Adley Rutschman of the Baltimore Orioles hits an RBI single during the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day at Fenway Park on March 30, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)

By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network

Major League Baseball returned this weekend, and there were several players with standout performances on the mound and in the box.

The best performance of the week, arguably, was given by Tampa Rays starting pitcher Jeffery Springs, who tossed six no-hit innings against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, April 2. New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was also stellar, striking out 11 San Francisco Giants through six innings on Opening Day.  

Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman made history against the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day, becoming the first catcher to reach base six times and record five hits on Opening Day since at least 1901. Colorado Rockies first baseman CJ. Cron had an incredible weekend which now puts him at the top of the leaderboards with a wOBA* of 934 and a wRC+ of 516. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson hit three home runs and drove in eight runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, April 1.

Tampa Bay Rays SP Jeffery Springs – Springs was dominant against the Tigers, and it was impressive because Springs only tops out at around 93 mph with his fastball. The Rays won 5-1 on April 2. Springs used location and only walked one batter in six innings of work. His changeup, slider and curveball were all working well and the Detroit Tigers had zero answers for him. Spring was pulled after just 81 pitches, as the Rays don’t like to stretch their starters too far. He wasn’t going to get a chance at the no-hitter in his first start of the season. 

New York Yankees SP Gerrit Cole – Cole Was locked in after he walked the first batter of the game on opening day and made the Giants look helpless at the plate. Cole guided the Yankees to a 5-0 win on March 30. He struck out 11 batters, five with the fastball that topped out at 98 mph, five with the slider and one with his changeup. Cole gave up three hits and walked two batters. Cole stepped up when the Yankees needed him most, as their rotation has been ravaged by injuries to Carlos Rodón, Luis Severino and Frankie Montas. 

Baltimore Orioles C Adley Rutschman – Rutschman started his season in the best way possible, smacking a home run against Red Sox starting pitcher Corey Kluber. He drove in four runs and was key in the Orioles’ 10-9 victory on March 30. Rutschman was 5-for-5 with a walk and reached base in all six of his plate appearances. The Orioles first pick in the 2019 draft is well on his way to living up to the lofty expectations that have been placed on him. He was the second-ranked MLB prospect in 2021. He has a batting average of .400 with an OPS of 1.038 in his first three games.  

Colorado Rockies 1B C.J. Cron – Cron started the season with an impressive offensive performance, hitting two home runs and driving in four runs on opening day against the San Diego Padres, leading the Rockies to a 7-2 upset over the Padres on March 30. Cron had four hits on the day and had the hardest hit of the day with a 111.9 MPH double. His hot start carried over through the entire weekend. He has a batting average of .467 and an OPS of 1.729. He’s hit 3 home runs and driven in seven runs. He leads MLB with a wOBA of 934 and a wRC+ of 516. Cron is making a huge impact almost every time he makes contact. 

* – wOBA stands for weighted on-base average. Each hit is calculated based on the projected runs scored with a home run holding the highest value. In this formula, a walk is less valuable than a single. 

** – wRC+ stands for weighted runs created. It factors in the ballparks the players are hitting in and is adjusted based on the difficulty of each park they’ve hit in. The league average wRC+ is 100.

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