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On The Ball | Sport

Home  GNUru Columns  Spring Training Sleepers
Spring Training Sleepers
Written by The GNUru   
Mar 14, 2007 at 03:07 PM

Spring training is in full swing and the cream of the spring training crop is Howie Kendrickbeginning to rise to the top.  The question GNUru receives every year is what to make of the spring training stats?  Are they are reliable indicator of regular season success or is it just the time when the 25th man lays it all on the line to make the big club? Only time will tell but let’s look at who is tearing it up this spring….






2007 Spring Training Leaders 


Rank Player Team Position Games AB Hits OPS
1 Hunter Pence HOU OF 13 23 15 1.88
2 Eric Byrnes ARI CF 9 23 12 1.55
3 Brad Eldred PIT 1B 10 25 11 1.53
4 Placido Polanco DET 2B 9 25 15 1.51
5 Josh Hamilton CIN CF 10 28 16 1.44
6 Jason J. Ellison SF LF 9 25 14 1.33
7 Ryan Zimmerman WAS 3B 8 22 10 1.32
8 Sammy Sosa TEX RF 9 28 13 1.30
9 Morgan Ensberg HOU 3B 9 23 10 1.30
10 Hernan Iribarren MIL 2B 12 23 10 1.29
11 Ben Francisco CLE OF 11 25 10 1.27
12 Ivan Rodriguez DET C 10 28 12 1.24
13 Howie Kendrick ANA 1B 10 26 12 1.23
14 Adam Dunn CIN LF 9 23 10 1.22
15 Todd Linden SF LF 12 33 15 1.22
16 Brian Bixler PIT SS 8 24 10 1.21
17 Johnny Estrada MIL C 11 29 15 1.21
18 Kevin Youkilis BOS 1B 9 26 12 1.20
19 Jose B. Reyes NYM SS 10 32 12 1.19
20 Terrmel Sledge SD LF 9 31 11

We must always take spring training stats with a grain of salt, however, spring training is a time to keep your eyes and ears open.  Spring training success can be an indication that a young player has finally arrived. For example, in 2006 Ryan Howard led all in spring training homeruns (11 HRS).  While most knew Howard was a talented young player heading into the season, many still doubted the impact he would make.   Further proof is Chase Utley's 6 homeruns in the spring of '05.  Again we knew he had talent but not many would have felt secure relying on Chase to be their starting 2B.

Spring training stats can also be used to identify if players recovering from injury are healthy and ready to contribute once again.  Case in point is Jim Thome 6 HRS and .404 average last spring that foreshadowed a monster 2006 season that led to the Comeback Player of the Year award. 

 Lastly, spring stats can help an owner determine players who are likely to get off to hot starts.  In 2006, both Chris Shelton and Kevin Mench displayed some impressive power that carried over into the regular season.  Although, they cooled down significantly as the season continued, many owners benefitted from their impressive performances.  Those that were smart traded them away while their value was at its peak.

The key to looking at spring stats is the same as the key scouts use to evaluate talent- you must be able to look beyond the numbers.  For example, Angel Pagan of the Chicago Cubs had an impressive spring in 2006 (outperforming players like Matt Murton) but scouts know the numbers are not necessarily indicative of talent.  In the end its talent that wins out.  While Hernan Ibarren isn't likely to evolve into a perennial 1st round fantasy pick, just maybe Howie Kendrick is on a similar path as Ryan Howard.  Isn't fantasy baseball fun?


User Comments

Comment by garygnus on 2007-03-14 19:15:11
How could you not even mention Sammy Sosa's sping numbers. Is he going to make a major comeback?

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