BOSTON (CBS) – It happens every single year. And, every single year I write the same thing:
DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO SPRING TRAINING STATS!
It never ceases to amaze me how the media and fans get caught up in how a guy performs in Florida or Arizona.
Needless to say, there are so many factors that come into play for different guys. A starting pitcher may come out and say to his catcher, “I want to work on my change-up today so I will throw 15 or so…” or “I want to work on all of my pitches and I’m only throwing 30 pitches today, so let’s just mix them in”.
Meanwhile, some hitters just come out seeing the ball real well or not. Period. And, sometimes that will translate into a hot regular season start at the plate…or not.
The one thing that can happen is that a player or two can play his way into a roster spot, or off of it for that matter. I’ve seen a guy come in and hit .450, make the team, and then continue that right into the year. However, some young kids can have a torrid start to the Spring, make a team, but then come out and go 1-for-30.
And, one thing to remember about these guys. Players tend to hit or pitch pretty close to their previous track records. The times that you won’t see that happen is usually because of injuries.
So, when John Lackey or Daisuke Matsuzaka can’t get guys out in their first few starts of Grapefruit League action, don’t jump to conclusions. Same thing if David Ortiz crushes the ball all spring. He may carry that over or struggle in April like he has the past two years.
And by the way, I usually don’t start judging guys until May 1st or 15th. By then, you have a good sample as to how they may perform. However, there are still plenty of guys who will have a poor couple of months (hello? David Ortiz?), but then will bounce back. Or, guys will crush the ball early, but then will drop off.
So, please, just relax and settle in. Enjoy this time of year for what it is. A look at warmth and baseball. Worry about the other stuff later.
There’s still a long, long way to go.