How are they doing?: Taking a look at meaningless Spring Training numbers
By James Fegan
Spring Training is meaningless. It’s meaningless. The worth of a small sample of exhibition games played in by rusty players, rehabbing veterans, and horribly overmatched prospects has been disproved time and time and time and time and tiiiimmmme again. So now that the first week is in the books…
Let’s take a look at those numbers!……….They’re all we have.
In no order…
John Danks – The Opening Day starter has walked 7 batters and struck out 2 in 5 IP. Without going into advance metrics too much, that’s terrible. He’s also fresh off of a season where he posted the best K/BB ratio of his career. Coincidences! He’s still about 20 more innings of crap pitching away from being regarded as “curiously ineffective”.
Paul Konerko – He’s hit one single, walked once, and struck out three times in 11 plate appearances. 11 plate appearances!!!! If we picked out every crappy three-game stretch Konerko has had in the past two years, we’d have enough to account for the entirety of Chris Snopek’s career. He did foul a pitch off of his knee and limp around for a while. That’s probably of greater concern. He’s had some poor responses to being hit by fast-moving baseballs recently.
Anthony Carter – He’s tied for 3rd on the team in innings. I’m sure it’s just happenstance.
Brent Morel – Morel is hitting .533/.533/.600 in 15 plate appearances. That 7 singles and a double. He’s back to his old single-hitting self! Of course, his old single-hitting self never hit .533. I actually don’t care about Morel’s power so much if he hits .533. It really can be whatever at that point. Since last Spring was largely spent wondering if Morel would be overwhelmed by advanced pitching, it’s nice that he’s seeing the ball so well. It’s nice, if not particularly predictive of anything.
Adam Dunn – Dunn has a .273/.467/.636 line 15 plate appearances. He’s taking plenty of walks, turned a 93 mph Neftali Feliz fastball way out to right field, hit a double off of a lefty, and has only struck out once, which doesn’t even make any sense seeing as even Adam Dunn at his peak would strike out more often. It’s exciting to see, of course, because it’s a hint of promise. A single hint of promise is a bit more than what Dunn offered in 2011. The only reason not to go crazy would be, well, the whole 15 plate appearances part.
Jared Mitchell – The former 1st-round pick has been bounding around healthily two years after his nasty ankle injury, aaaand, well that’s probably the best part. He’s still striking out a ton, and that’s still the issue that has to be overcome if he’s going to have a meaningful big league career, but it sure was fun to see him stretch that single into a double on a fully healthy ankle. The home run to dead center was nice too, and if he could steal a base, that’d be gravy.
Alejandro De Aza – .231/.313/.231. I was very concerned for a while that De Aza would not get a hit. At all. All Spring. So the fact that he now not only has a hit, but three of them! Oh wow. Sometimes Spring Training adds perspective, instead of taking it away.
Dayan Viciedo – Mostly, Dayan’s been hideous, and absolutely striking out a ton. Apparently he hit a home run off of Gavin Floyd in a intrasquad game, so if those trade rumors click in, we’re in business. Viciedo has been nimble enough in the field and hit the ball the other way adequately, so he’s still inspiring gushing stories from the beat writers. If he could just come on like a house of fire at some point before Spring Training closes, I’d stop obsessing over his every at-bat like a helicopter parent. Maybe.
Brent Lillibridge – Some players strike out so gosh darn much that just the news that they’ve only struck out once in a 14 plate appearance sample is encouraging. Brent Lillibridge is absolutely one of those players.
Osvaldo Martinez – In his quest for the last bench spot, Martinez is hitless in 8 at-bats, with three strikeouts and a walk. This puts Martinez’ 2012 Spring Training easily in the elite echelon of Spring Training performances by players who’ve been shot in the head. He’s been shot in the head and he’s playing baseball! I’m not getting over this!
Eduardo Escobar – In his quest for the last bench spot, Escobar is doing much better. He’s hitting for a nice, tidy and empty .357 average. An unsustainable hot streak might be what wins this job, and there goes Eduardo, hitting unsustainably well.
Gordon Beckham – Gordo is red hot, going 6 of 14 with a homer in his first week, and is 2 for 2 on stolen bases even! I could squash the enthusiasm by quoting his great numbers from previous Springs, by why do that when I’ve already squashed the enthusiasm through mere implication?
Gregory Infante – It looked Infante was doing fine in the one outing of his I observed. He was getting whiffs with his slider, and the control problems he had in his second inning of work seemed like they could be attributed to fatigue and easily forgiven. Now he’s got an oblique strain and is out indefinitely. Getting injured is a failure of the fundamental goal of Spring Training
Brandon Short – By crashing into a wall while going full tilt for a ball and tearing his labrum, Short uncovered the often hidden dark side to hard work and effort. Seriously, this stinks for him. He’s out for the season and his career really couldn’t afford this hiccup.
Chris Sale – No one’s really thrilled about Sale throwing a gopher ball to career minor-leaguer Edgar Gonzalez to provide the Cubs with the go-ahead runs in Friday’s contest, but focus on the 4 K’s in 3 IP. They were overpowering efforts.
Nestor Molina – After allowing a million runs on a billion hits in his first appearance, Molina recovered nicely to throw two scoreless innings against the Cubs. He generated a ton of groundballs and got a couple strikeouts in 2 IP. Ahhh, to be young again, where every day you woke up a drastically different person.
Simon Castro – Half of Castro’s recorded outs have come via strikeout, and he looks hilariously surprised in his whitesox.com photo. Those are the positives! The rest is all scorched earth and burnt Carlos Quentin shirseys. Here’s to 15 more individual sessions with Don Cooper, post-haste!
Alex Rios – Featuring a revamped batting stance, with a renewed focus on driving the ball to all fields, Rios looks more comfortable at the plate. Naturally, he’s hitting .083.
Will Ohman – Reports have it that Ohman is developing a change-up in order to be more effective against righties. Seeing as he’s a 34 year-old former failed starter, I’d hazard a guess that this isn’t the first time Ohman has tried to develop a change in order to be more effective against righties.
Zach Stewart – 2 K’s, 2 BB’s, 2 R in 4 IP worth of meh bleh Zach Stewart. He was absolutely nasty in that one game against the Twins last season, though.
Dylan Axelrod – In two outings, Axelrod has looked awful and gotten tagged each time. In a sense, he can serve an important purpose no matter what his roster fate (bullpen arm or AAA starting depth), so it doesn’t matter what he does. That’s the security of an active roster spot in an organization with a thin farm system.
Hector Santiago – In 4 innings, Santiago has yet to yield a run, and in a surprising start against Texas, he struck out three batters in two frames of work. Some of the credit of his success could be due to a lack of familiarity with his screwball, but for now the results remain encouraging. He’s doing so well that he could earn a spot on the team. The next tier of performance is to pitch so well that some start worrying that a spot on the team will take away from his development as a starter. That’s Chris Sale territory.
Addison Reed – Despite some control issues in his last outing, Reed has yet to hit a real bump in the road. The lasting memory of his week should be his slider making Matt Kemp look silly.
Jake Peavy – The Jakemeister managed to distract everyone away from the fact that he more or less was knocked around in his only start, by claiming he wasn’t doing anything more than spotting his fastball, and reminding us all that we should just be happy he isn’t hurt. It worked.
Kenny Williams, Jr. – He’s batting 1.000, and the last time he was at the plate, he won the game. But for some reason this kid can’t get a chance in this organization. Boy, I tell ya there’s just no justice.
Everyone else I excluded either isn’t worth worrying about for their Spring numbers at this time, or just isn’t worth worrying about.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @ JRFegan. Also check out his full-time, daily blog, White Sox Observer