A baseball historian named Philbus Elbert once said, “The only thing better than baseball in the spring is baseball in the fall.” Philbus was also a diabetic, had a severe drinking problem and died of gonorrhea that he contracted from a horse. Baseball, like a flower, blooms in the spring. They also share equally effusive PR people. Just the other day I read about how a petunia’s branches had gained 15 pounds and were in the best shape of its life. Sure, it’s always good to look at spring training numbers to give you an idea what you can expect from guys during the season — can I draft Jedd Gyorko yet?! Players in spring training are facing the top pitchers who are all displaying their best stuff. No one needs time to get warmed up. No one’s trying new pitches or getting a feel for the ball. They are at the height of their game in March. In fact, I think someone should propose to Bud that the World Series could easily be played in March. Yes, The March Classic. I like how that sounds. Since these spring training numbers mean so much, I decided to look at some players’ stats so far:
Lorenzo Cain – Hitting .426/.475/.870 and might just have the early lead on MVP and Cy Young. Has he pitched? No, but if pitchers have any good sense they will see how well Cain’s hitting and not pitch this year, which will leave Lorenzo Cain to step in to pitch and hit. He’s crediting his newfound success with “feeling good at the plate.” Whoa, Keanu just blew his mind.
Delmon Young – He’s punishing pitchers this spring at a clip of .413/.429/.848 and claims that he’s in the best shape of his life, which means he’s reduced his seventy-eight percent body fat to seventy-seven.
Brandon Belt – His spring line of .382/.426/.636 has Ted Williams’s frozen head sitting up and taking notice. Bochy said, “This is gonna make it very hard for me to bench him for a veteran that is five years past his prime, but I’m sure gonna try.” We bet you are, Bochy!
Oh, see, this list is Spring Training stars and stats from last year. Snider didn’t even stay on the Blue Jays for the year, Cain was injured yet again, Delmon Young had a solid season for him, which is to say it was not a solid season for anyone else who calls themselves a major league outfielder, and Belt hit 7 homers in 400+ ABs. Yay. Brandon Allen also had a spectacular 2012 spring training that had the A’s saying he all but had first base locked up. Not only did he not play the majority of games for the A’s, but he wasn’t even in their platoon. I’m not going to call out this writer (because he’s not Matthew Berry), but a prominent baseball writer said last spring, “(Brandon) Allen will determine whether the A’s are competent or unwatchable this year, but, based on this spring, Allen is likely to do his part.” Oh-kay. Spring Training stats are a joke. They mean nothing. Let me say it again for emphasis, spring stats mean nothing. You should only be looking at who’s healthy, who’s winning position battles and who’s winning rotation spots. The rest is meaningless. Okay, so can I draft Gyorko now?!