Spring training guide: Everything to know for Cactus League baseball
The 15 major league clubs that make up the Cactus League are spread out across the Valley, providing fans unique opportunities to interact with their favorite players and coaches.
Arizona’s spring training league begins it’s 73rd season on Thursday, Feb. 21, when the Oakland Athletics host the Seattle Mariners in Mesa.
Here is a guide to all the teams and training facilities located in the Phoenix-metropolitan area, as well as a map below to help you choose where to drop in on over the next few weeks.
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
Location: 7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale
Teams: Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies
The D-backs are coming off a disappointing end to the 2018 season which ultimately led to the departure of three of their former All-Stars. With that being said, the D-backs have said multiple times that they are not rebuilding, but just retooling.
Player to watch: Utility player Ketel Marte will be someone to keep an eye on as he will most likely be receiving reps in center field as he prepares for a possible position change.
The Rockies surprised the baseball world by beating the Chicago Cubs in the NL Wild Card game and advancing into the first round of the playoffs.
Player to watch: All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado is entering the last season of his contract and may be participating in his final spring training as a member of the Rockies.
The 8-year-old ballpark includes three specialty zones — the Pepsi Patio, the American Airlines Deck and the Miller Lite Loft. These zones give the fans a fun place to socialize with friends and family while watching the game from a different vantage point in the upper level.
Location: 7408 E. Osborn Rd., Scottsdale
Team: San Francisco Giants
The Giants head into spring training looking to rebound from their fourth-place finish in the NL West a year ago. After winning three world series titles in five years, the Giants have struggled to compete for the top spot in the division for the last couple seasons.
Player to watch: Three-time World Series champion Buster Posey looks to continue his great career as he will be participating in his 11th spring training with the Giants.
Old Town Scottsdale
Scottsdale Stadium is located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale and provides fans with the chance to catch a nice dinner or drink after the game at one of the local hot spots.
Location: 1235 N. Center St., Mesa
Team: Oakland Athletics
After falling in the AL Wild Card Game, the Athletics look to improve in 2019 after their unbelievable 2018. The A’s finished last season with their highest number of wins since 2002 (97) and look to improve on their finish from last year by winning a division title.
Player to watch: Designated hitter Khris Davis led all of baseball in home runs last season, mashing a total of 48 home runs. The 31-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down and may have a legitimate chance of eclipsing the 50 home run mark in 2019.
Bay Area food
Located within the stadium is the Bay Area favorite Ike’s Sandwiches. The stadium provides fans with a little taste of home for those who may be traveling from California to see the team in early-season action.
Location: 2330 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., Mesa
Team: Chicago Cubs
Many fans were disappointed with the Cubs’ loss in the NL Wild Card last year, but after a season plagued with injuries, they have a lot to look forward to in 2019.
Player to watch: Former MVP third baseman Kris Bryant spent most of his 2018 battling injuries but has proven to be someone to watch when it comes spring time. In 2015, Bryant led everyone in the Cactus League when he exploded with 10 home runs just before his rookie year.
Taste of Chicago
Sloan Park offers its guests multiple ways for fans to try all sorts of Chicago-style food. Some of their featured food items are the Red Hot Bratwurst and Maxwell Street Dog, which you can find at the A Taste of Chicago and Windy City Dog stands inside the stadium.
Tempe Diablo Stadium
Location: 2200 W. Alameda Dr., Tempe
Team: Los Angeles Angels
Pitcher/Designated Hitter Shohei Ohtani stole the show for the Angels last season on his way to winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award. After contending for a Wild Card spot for a majority of the first half, the Angels fell off and suffered from the injuries they sustained to end 2018. This year, the Angels will look to stay healthy and contend with one of the best players in the game, outfielder Mike Trout.
Player to watch: Trout is entering his eighth full season of his young career. Over the past seven years, Trout has racked up seven All-Star selections, two MVPs and the Rookie of the Year Award.
Tempe Diablo Stadium includes a Baked Bear ice cream shop where fans can get ice cream sandwiched between two warm cookies for a delicious treat on a hot spring day.
American Family Fields of Phoenix
Location: 3805 N. 53rd Ave., Phoenix
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Last year’s Brewers surprised the baseball world by beating the Cubs in a tiebreaker game to secure their second NL Central division title in franchise history. This offseason, the crew added a few pieces in the offseason that have them looking like the favorites to repeat as division champs.
Player to watch: Last year’s MVP Christian Yelich will be attending his second spring training with Milwaukee this spring after putting together one of the best overall seasons in recent memory. Yelich was selected to his first All-Star Game and awarded his second silver slugger award last season.
Over the past season, American Family Fields received a renovation of more than $60 million, which included new locker rooms, concessions, restrooms, parking lots and a brand new left field scoreboard.
Location: 10710 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
Teams: Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers
Last season, the White Sox finished fourth in a very underwhelming AL Central and are preparing for 2019 to be another year of their rebuild. The team has not made the playoffs since 2008 and is making significant steps on its way to contention.
Player to watch: Former top prospect and second baseman Yoán Moncada is coming off his first full season in the big leagues in 2018. The switch-hitting 23-year-old has shown flashes of potential and is a key piece for the White Sox during this hefty rebuild.
After losing in the World Series for the second year in a row, the Dodgers enter the 2019 season looking to finally get over the hump. With a busy offseason behind them, the team is the early favorites to win the NL West for the seventh straight year.
Player to watch: Former D-backs center fielder A.J. Pollock signed a four-year, $55 million deal with L.A. after spending the last seven years of his career in the desert. Pollock is coming off one of the best years of his career in which he set a career high in home runs (21).
Camelback Ranch provides baseball fans that do not attend games at Dodger Stadium with the opportunity to try a world famous Dodger Dog. The 10-inch hot dog has become a fan favorite in LA and is known all around the game of baseball.
Peoria Sports Complex
Location: 16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria
Teams: Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres
After failing to reach the playoffs for the 16th year in a row, the Mariners decided that it was time to rebuild. While finishing third in a tough AL West, the team thought it was best to unload some of their best players in order to restructure their farm system. The many subtractions in the offseason have provided opportunities to prospects such as left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Jarred Kelenic, right-handed pitcher Justin Dunn and many more.
Player to watch: Right fielder Mitch Haniger is entering spring training after completing the best season of his young career. Last season, Haniger was selected to his first All-Star Game and mashed career highs in home runs, RBIs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
The Padres are coming into 2019 after another dismal season in the NL West. However, with nine prospects ranked in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects, the Friars are close to transitioning from rebuilding to contending.
Player to watch: MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 overall prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. has been the one Padres fans have been talking about for the past year. This month’s spring training could be a chance for Tatis to fine-tune his skills just before his call to the big leagues. If everything goes as planned, the 20-year-old will most likely make his MLB debut sometime during the upcoming season.
Chef’s a la Carte
This facility has a unique take on normal concessions with Chef’s a la Carte. The menu changes daily and consists of delicious snacks like gourmet macaroni and cheese and panini melts.
Location: 15930 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise
Teams: Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers
Since winning the World Series in 2015, the Royals have become one of the teams looking to rebuild in order to contend. After losing most of their core before the season, 2018 became a season to forget as they won less than 80 games for the first time since 2012. In 2019, the club will look to take steps in the right direction and continue to build their team for future contention.
Player to watch: In 2018, Second baseman and outfielder Whit Merrifield surprised the world of baseball by leading the majors in stolen bases with 45 swiped bags. The 30-year-old also led the MLB in hits with 192 and posted his highest career WAR (Wins Above Relacement), posting a 5.5.
The Rangers finished 2018 in last place of the AL West for the first time under manager Jeff Banister. After a quiet offseason, the club looks primed for a rebuild with the Athletics and the Houston Astros being too tough to contend with.
Player to watch: Left fielder Joey Gallo has been known as one of the most powerful players in the league for a couple of years now. Last year, Gallo hit 40 home runs for the second time in his career and also eclipsed 90 RBIs for the first time.
Unique food options
Surprise Stadium offers many different selections of food including the High Heat Dog topped with sriracha-infused ketchup, jalapeño relish and Caribe pepper mustard. Fans can also enjoy a spring training margarita served in a souvenir-style mason jar.
Location: 1933 S. Ballpark Way, Goodyear
Teams: Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians
After another season full of offense, the Reds look to improve on their 67 wins from a year ago. The club will also be celebrating its 150th season in 2019, as it was the first professional team in MLB. As one of the most historic franchises in baseball, the Reds will celebrate this anniversary all year long, starting in spring training.
Player to watch: Outfielder Yasiel Puig was traded from the Dodgers to the Reds back in December after spending his first six seasons in LA. The 28-year-old has shown streaks of superstar status and will look to stay consistent in his first year with a new team. Puig has been known to put on a bit of a show while playing the game, often licking his bats before and during his at-bats.
The AL Central champion Indians had their 2018 playoff run cut short after being swept by the Astros in the first round of the postseason. After winning their third straight division title, the Indians are looking to see some improvement from their bullpen in 2019.
Player to watch: Third baseman Jose Ramirez saw his outstanding 2018 end with a silver slugger award and MVP nomination. The 26-year-old has received All-star nominations in each of the previous two years, as well as finished within the top 3 of the MVP voting.
All about Ohio
With both teams being from Ohio, Goodyear Ballpark offers fans the Skyline Chili Dog and Ohio’s own Bertman Ball Park Mustard.