Spring Training Stats are Meaningless… but Let Me Give You A Bunch of Them

There isn’t much to be decided right now other than the 4th and 5th starter spots, who plays left field for a few weeks, some bench spots, and ultimately, how shortstop plays out in the mid- to long-term. So of the players that don’t have a solidified spot either on the roster or potentially on the diamond, how are they doing?

Dansby Swanson hasn’t quite yet Silenced His Critics(TM) this spring. He’s getting a lot of playing time, 6th on the team in PAs, but he’s got 5-27 with a .185 BA. But, two of those five hits were home runs, so his short sample OPS is actually higher than last year (faint praise, I know) at .698. He might be working on elevating the baseball to add some power to his game, so we’ll see how it plays out against more advanced competition.

Johan Camargo and Rio Ruiz, so far, have not yet made a strong claim to the third base position. Ruiz is hitting .184/.205/.316 while getting the most ABs of anyone, which tells me they are giving him a legitimate shot at either a third base share or a bench spot. Camargo is a little better at .240/.286/.440 with the eighth-most ABs on the team. These two guys need to be pounding the inferior competition, and they’re just not doing that yet.

Left field is going to be open for a few weeks before Ronald Acuna Jr. is ready to take over. At the beginning of the spring, it would have seemed that Lane Adams and Preston Tucker would be battling for bench spots at the very least, and claim to at least a portion of a platoon during that period. Lane had 118 strong ABs last year for the Braves, but being a 27-year old journeyman, there was reason to wonder if he was a beneficiary of some small sample size luck. He has the 4th most ABs this spring, but he’s produced a .167/.167/.233 line that could at some point put his status in jeopardy. Tucker has gotten his share of ABs, and he’s hit .308/.400/.423 so far. So if things continue on the way they are, Tucker could have an upper hand.

Another candidate for left field is prospect Dustin Peterson. Peterson had a forgettable 2017 as he never quite got the power back from a broken hamate bone. Remember that Freddie Freeman suffered a broken hamate bone last year, and when he returned, he said it was like “swinging a wet newspaper” in terms of what it did to his power. In what is an extreme small sample size alert, Peterson has run into a couple pitches for home runs, encouraging some fans think that his power is back. As a result, his .316/.350/.684 line in 19 ABs is, at the very least, interesting. He was our Minor League Hitter of the Year after holding his own as a 21-year old at AA, and then he had a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League that year. With a justifiable reason for his struggles last year, and the corresponding evidence that maybe he’s fully healed, it’s possible he gets a longer look this spring. His approach looks much better too. He’s got lower hands, a shorter swing, and he’s got less movement and a more fluid swing than in the past. I think it’s unwise to over-inflate two spring home runs, but if he keeps doing it, you’d have to notice.

69 thoughts on “Spring Training Stats are Meaningless… but Let Me Give You A Bunch of Them”

  1. tfloyd was JC’ed from last thread:

    @112, 114, 116, 120, and 124 are clearly onto something, but I’m afraid you’ve only scratched the surface of this deep and enduring conspiracy. It goes back at least to the franchise–which was the league’s best in the late 1890’s–letting go of Hall of Famers Hugh Duffy, Tommy McCarthy, and Slidin Billy Hamilton.

  2. Peterson hit an absolute bomb yesterday. I’d be happy to have him and Lane in left while we wait for Acuna.

  3. @1. Thanks, Rob, for the rescue of the JC’ed comment. I assumed that when a new thread went up just as I posted, that was just one more manifestation of the conspiracy. Glad to know you’re not a co-conspirator.

  4. Spring Training Stats Are Meaningless (hereto abbreviated as STSAM; feel free to think of it as “Sit Sam!”, which is what people ought to be saying to Sam when he’s out of line), but Preston Tucker is performing better this spring, and he has much more big league experience and has a higher pedigree as a “prospect”. If you went nuts and said that Dustin Peterson, a righty, is playing himself onto the roster, you’d have to think that Tucker, a lefty, would be the better fit as a platoon partner. And Tucker is a Florida Gator from Tampa Bay, so you know he’s good.

  5. Olivera’s folklore really took a hit when he made 3 crucial errors in the 2010 playoffs.

  6. Try as you might, you’ll never, ever get past the fact that you just created an anagram that reads as St. Sam. I am beloved. And canonized, apparently. Seems legit.

  7. I need to drop out of the fantasy league due to family illness (I look after my disabled brother, who is having a hard time of it at present.) I don’t believe I can devote the effort required to compete. So, who wants the Luis Gomez Allstars?

  8. In other news, Ryan Schimpf continues his stellar spring with a pinch hit strike out. He is now 0 for 22 with 16 strike outs. Whatever he did in the off season, we need to find out, so no Braves player ever does it.

  9. I think the key lesson to draw from Ryan Schimpf, a man who will turn 30 in a month, who has had a grand total of 527 major league plate appearances in which he has struck out one-third of the time and as a result has hit below the Mendoza line, is that when it comes to players like him, the back of his baseball card will tell you everything you need to know.

  10. snowshine, I currently have the league locked. I’ll unlock it in a few hours, you can delete your team and very quickly, I’ll need to get a replacement. Is anyone interested in playing that didn’t get a slot. If so, let me know and I’ll get the URL to the league to you.

    Also, Schimpf delenda est.

  11. Newcombe’s post game interview yesterday was particularly reassuring with regard to locating his fastball. He said he could spot it where he wanted to.

    OK, but. Can we please eliminate any thought that one of these spots is 12 inches beyond the reach of any right hand hitter and that ten times a game he finds it necessary to go there presumably just to see if he still can. There can be no other reason.

    Good one, Newk. Looking forward to the first sighting of that lovely, sweeping, lollipop curve.

  12. I don’t want players who don’t play for Washington to get hurt any more than the next guy, but everything the coach says in that article is pretty much true. Hitters have no fear inside. They dive across the plate and drive very good pitches for power to the opposite field. The primary defense a pitcher has against this is to pitch inside.

  13. @ 30/31/32

    Mickey Callaway
    is giving every indication he will go all the way
    hard, inside and tight, whoohee!
    the really funny thing, many are saying, ‘Who he?’

  14. So the Mets are pretty much saying they want to lead the league in bench clearing brawls. Sign me up.

  15. The 5th spot doesn’t look great right now with Kazmir and Wisler seemingly the legitimate options, and neither of which are blowing the doors off. But Newcomb definitely looks solid. 4 1/3 perfect innings yesterday, and that makes 12 strike outs against two walks in 10.2 IP this spring. It Was Only Spring Training (or IWOST, if you’d like to avoid giving Sam sainthood), but he looks good.

  16. Braves added Ezequiel Carrera today. 30 year old journeyman outfielder. Can play all three positions on the grass. Career .262/.324/.365 hitter, but had a better than average year in a platoon role last year. He’s a lefty, so basically Preston Tucker insurance. Another name thrown into the “waiting for Acuna” mix.

  17. The sixth most similar player to Ezequiel Carrera through age 30 is Tom Paciorek. I liked Paciorek back in the day and I like the Carrera signing. I would think there are a lot of potentially useful outfielders available–hopefully we find one. Though I also liked Schimpf’s career WAR, and that isn’t working out too well so far. Maybe St. Sam can perform a miracle and make Schimpf make contact.

  18. Schimpf had by far his best game as a Brave. Obviously he didn’t get a hit, but he batted 3 times with a walk and 0 strike outs. The guy is on fire!

  19. @28 I’m mulling it over. I know it doesn’t take a ton of effort, but I tend to stay spread thin (or else I’d be volunteering to write here, etc, etc, etc).

  20. Remember to look up at the Stars. We do. His were everywhere.

    Johan Camargo
    likes to read while he is subject to a day-to-day embargo
    remembrance of things past
    he may soon recall how to hit from the left side at last.

  21. Ezekiel Carrera
    does nothing well but everything’s now fairer
    got a 1.9 million contract before he was cut
    said Melky, this is absurd, not like me, that damn scuttle but.

  22. Fun Challenge

    There’s a new movie out where a central character is a ‘poltroon’. Had no idea, had to look it up, it means an abject coward, from the old German.

    So, can you write a clerihew(see 48/49 above) very much(but loosely!) Braves based about such a guy. Because we don’t know his name, first line would simply be, A/The poltroon. Have fun, closes Saturday noon say. Now if you like!

    To help. Forced rhymes are fine if they’re funny. Lines can be of any length.

  23. If you had to choose between writing here and playing fantasy baseball, choose fantasy baseball!

    If anybody thought they could see Schimpf being this bad, then they’re kidding themselves. Now, the Rays lost Longoria and Morrison from last year’s team, and they currently boast an outfield of Span, Mallex, Kiermaier, and Carlos Gomez, so you’d think they’d be hard up for power. They brought in a ton of dudes, and Schimpf clearly looked like the worst of the bench. If they thought he even had a .750 OPS in him, they’d probably not have cut bait.

    I think the Carrera move has me a bit more intrigued, but I, like most in the fanbase, are in a “call me when you get a real player” mode at this point. Unless one of these guys turns into Charles Thomas or Matt Diaz or someone that has an unexpectedly productive year, then it’s just a “wait and see”. But Carrera has more than one use compared to Schimpf’s sole tool being power. He might be a better 4th OF than Adams, he has a longer track record of at least mediocrity, and he’s coming off his best offensive season. Either way, between Lane, Tucker, and Carrera, as long as it keeps Santana off the roster, I’m happy. I hope we have a 4th and 5th OF there somewhere.

    I still remain hopeful there’s an end of Spring Training move where we send a blocked pitcher to get a real middle infielder bench player. We’ve made some good additions to the roster, that’s undebatable, and I want to see some legitimate Dansby and Camargo insurance, and not Charlie Culberson.

  24. SNOWSHINE, can you please delete your team, ASAP. I need to clear a spot for a replacement team. I cannot find the commissioner’s tool to outright delete a team. If you could do this pretty quickly, I’d appreciate it.

    Thanks.

  25. Sorry, between being at work or the hospital I have very little time to look at Braves Journal at the moment

  26. I’m more than willing to share log-in info and give the team to somebody else. Yahoo is telling me only the commissioner can delete the entry

  27. Tucker is 2 for 2 today with a double, a homerun and 3 rbis. The Carrera signing may have lit a fire under him, at least for the next few weeks of spring.

  28. FYI, I’m planning to be fairly active, but I’m also not going to be able to make it to the draft. If my auto-drafted team beats you suckers…

  29. 30 in 30 is on the Braves right now on MLB Network. John Smoltz says the team is two years away FWIW.

  30. Take it, Dirt Napper!

    Besides, I’ll be fishing my first tournament on Guntersville on Saturday. Just a little too busy right now.

  31. I’m thinking of going auto-draft too, but it will be so well-planned, my team will blow your mind. Two words: Danny. Santana.

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