Spring surprises: Players who are forcing themselves into the mix

Domingo Santana and Ryan Rua are two of many unheralded players who have opened eyes already this spring. Getty Images, TNS via Getty Images

Jose Bautista has been the dominant name in baseball this spring, from his contract talks to the perpetual debate over his bat flip. Scouts will be closely watching Mets third baseman David Wright as he prepares for the start of the season, and pitcher Johnny Cueto is getting attention from evaluators in Arizona -- and this will probably continue -- after he was hit in the head by a line drive Monday night.

But in every baseball camp, players are quietly ascending or improving, creating an opportunity for themselves, building a foundation for the 2016 season. Examples of this:

With the Brewers: Right fielder Domingo Santana, who is getting a look in the leadoff spot for Milwaukee, has been doing what he has always done in pro ball: finding a way to get on base. The 23-year-old has a career .373 OBP in the minors, and so far this spring, he has gotten on base 14 of his 20 plate appearances.

Rays: Infielder Taylor Motter has caught the eye of the coaching staff with his energy and versatility, and the former 17th-round pick -- who has performed well at every level in the minors -- has been pushing his way into the roster conversation. At Triple-A Durham last season, Motter played six different spots.

Angels: Outfielder Rafael Ortega fits the prototype that new GM Billy Eppler has targeted -- contact hitters who can be good defenders -- and it appears Ortega could have a role for the Angels this season. Meanwhile, Al Alburquerque has been throwing great for the Angels this spring, and he has a chance to be an important part of manager Mike Scioscia's bullpen.

Also, starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs is working his way back, and given the issues with Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, Skaggs' return could turn out to be more important than initially anticipated.