Spring Training
the sun came out tooo daayyyyyy


Breaking News:  Two lengthy Hey Bills -- in front of the paywall for another day or two -- on the way that major league teams look at Spring Training.  A bit of an excerpt:


The principle that little can be told from a small number of games, compared to a player's larger history, would seem to debunk the whole idea of "competing for the job in spring training." Do you in fact think the idea is largely misguided, and that teams would be better off forgetting about any such thing? BTW I'm aware that the answer might be different or more complicated for pitchers (I think it is), so let me just be asking about position players.
Asked by: MarisFan61
Answered: 2/13/2017
You have to be cautious about making any judgments based on spring training, and it is a rule often cited among baseball professionals that you can't make any judgments about players based on spring training ...  
I will also say that we with the Red Sox have made some terrible mistakes when we ignored this generalization.   The worst was in Spring Training, 2014, when we brought in Grady Sizemore, who had once been a great player and who was only 31 years old, but had been out of baseball for a couple of years.   Sizemore was incredible in spring training, absolutely incredible.   He ran and moved fluidly, with great athleticism; he really was a beautiful athlete.   Great stroke.    In spring training every time his bat moved it was a line drive.    We thought we had hit a home run; we thought we had picked up a great player for nothing.  
Our plan had been to look at him in spriing training and then send him out to work himself back into top condition, but he was SO incredible in spring training--by far the best player on the team--that we wound up starting the season with him playing right field.
But once the bell rang he couldn't do anything.   We said at first that it was cold weather, but the cold weather hung on and hung on.   That decision blighted the season--not that we didn't make any OTHER mistakes that year; we certainly did, but that was a big one.   We had won the World Series the year before, but Ellsbury left as a free agent; we had Jackie Bradley Jr. in center, and he was struggling as well, so we just weren't getting any runs out of our outfield.   We wound up losing 91 games.  
[James mentions Cesar Crespo needing to up his BB's, doing great in Florida, and then the moment they hit the Bright Lights he started fishing again worse than ever ... ]
But you have to be careful about generalizations, including this one.    You have to try to see what is real, and what is an illusion, and it's hard work.    Sometimes the steps forward that a player makes between seasons are larger than the differences between the player in a slump and the player on a hot streak.   You don't make decisions based on spring training more than you have to, but if a player shows up stronger than he was, in great shape, enthusiastic about playing, smile on his face, sometimes you just have to honor that, regardless of what you believe.  


It's an odd disconnect that ALL baseball people know that you have to be very careful about Spring Training ... and then every year, a minimum of four roster slots / lineup slots are determined by the month of baseball that occurs before Opening Day.

In RF, it sounds like the job is Mitch Haniger's to lose.  And he will lose it if he doesn't come in lusting for the job.

Dan Altavilla refused to play in the WBC for Team Italy because he wants to be in the Mariners' camp.

The Mariners are wondering whether Jarrod Dyson can now defend himself better against LHP's.  Moe Dawg quite rightly pointed out that his 2016 numbers look great because of about three or four hits either way.  For sure.  But the Mariners WILL be watching to see whether he puts good attack swings on lefties.

Carlos Ruiz may play 30-40 games in 2017 or he may play 82.  That will depend on him and his age, as well as on Zunino's swings against jam pitches.

Like the way Felix seems to feel like he has something to prove.  For the 2017 Felix especially, 90% of baseball is half mental.  He needs to be hungry.







Things I'll be watching:

1. Moore/Povse/Whalen:  Who lights it up?

2. O'Malley/Freeman/Motter:  Who lights it up?  My money is on O'Malley to make the squad, btw.  Were Haniger/Martin/Dyson to come out of ST injured, I could see two of out UT guys making the Opening Day roster.

3. Gamel: I want him to come in as if he owns a COF spot.

4. Tank:  He won't open with the M's, but I want to see if he carries himself as if he should.

5. Felix:  Can he bring a little bit of heat by his last ST start?

6. Vogs:  I expect him to bash some ST homers.  Impressive ones, too.

7. Zunino:  Rack up some BB's, kid!

8. Segura and the 2B/SS marriage he has with Cano.

9. Martin always concerns me a bit.  How can a LH hitter, one who can fly, average less than 17 2B's a year, when he's healthy?  Swing for the gaps, not for the fences, please.

10.  Spaghetti:  Which BP arms get it done.


And more hope for Martin.  Martin in particular, I'm going with John Trupin's analysis from November that was linked in the recent LL article:


He doesn't have to hit the .262/.339/.483 he hit before the hamstring injury last year to be plenty productive.  14 XBH in 167PA is an excellent rate for someone with his glove though.  Only .309 BABIP, vs .313 career so it wasn't a mirage projected from luck in that regard.  I want to believe that his swing change is responsible for enough of that that he'll be still a .750 OPS for much of the season at least.  I normally agree with what you're saying but his case is different than normal in my opinion.

I do want to see a lot of the same things otherwise. 

I want to see some televised Mariners base thefts more than anything.  There's been too little for too long for my taste.  A Dyson/Segura double steal while Cano takes a ball is atop my list.  Haniger/Martin double steal would even be nice to see at the bottom.  

Hitting around the order with this group, how many games in before it happens?  Certainly it'd take some minor leaguers stringing together for it to be early in spring.

Seeing Simmons, Fien, Pazos, Curtis for the first time.  

Who's getting 1b reps besides the V formation?  Does Cruz get any time there or just O'Malley, Motter, Freeman,  DJ and other MiL guys?


Deolis Guerra slips through waivers and gets a AAA assignment for the Angels.  The guy was good last year as a control-freak reliever.  What is the rule for rejecting an assignment?

Casey Fien, Bleh.

OBF's picture

Other than a nice humorus comment from our very own MtGrizzly celebrating the removal of the terrible blond goatee, it was complete and utter dreck.  Terrible, uninformed, and why would you want to bad mouth one of the truly great Mariners, a guy that has given his heart and soul to this team and city???

Anyways, made me appreciate the commenters here all the more :)

Cheers to SSI and to SSI reader/commenters!

Spring always gets me amped up!  I just can't help it :)  Go M's!

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