Monday, March 3, 2014

What Have We Learned So Far in Spring Training?

Well, the Sox have played three games so far in spring training against fellow MLB teams. So, as usual, it is time to completely over-react about pre-season performances. Because as we all know, the pre-season is a strong predictor of the regular season. Which is why Kansas City won the 2013 World Series and Houston played close to .500 for the season.

Oh, neither of those things happened? Of course they didn't. Because using Spring Training to predict anything in the regular season is a fool's task.

Spring Training is about getting in shape, working on your swing or your out pitch and getting your mind in the right spot. And if your team goes .500 in the process, who cares?

Nevertheless, we got some time to kill before Opening Day...about 27 days worth of time. So is there anything worth talking about with the Sox?

  • Jake Peavy should stay away from fishing knives during the season.
  • Allan Webster did not look sharp while Anthony Ranaudo did in the two games with Minnesota. And that is something to watch as Spring Training progresses. I said last month that Ranaudo was a wild card to make the roster in the wake of Dempster taking the year off. Signing Capuano makes that less likely. But if Ranaudo keeps this up, it will make it hard for Boston to ignore him.
  • Felix Doubront looked good in his game against the Orioles. He went two innings and struck out three against the Orioles the other day. Now, that isn't a big deal in the context of Spring Training. But if the sports media is going to gush over Masahiro Tanaka doing the same damn thing, then Felix deserves a little love as well.

    Oh wait, Felix was even better because he only allowed one hit.

    Better than Tanaka. Cheaper as well.

  • Will Middlebrooks is still hitless. Yeah, I am being ridiculous. He will undoubtedly get a hit or two before April comes around. But third base is the big question mark with the Sox right now. And Middlebrooks is under a lot of pressure to show that he has it under control. Getting a few hits and showing that power of his would be a good way to do just that.
And...that's about it so far. But just remember:
  1. The record never matters in Spring Training. Never.
  2. Pay attention to the deeper stats. For pitchers, how many strikes are they throwing? How deep into the count are they going? For hitters, are they working the count? Are they getting on base? Don't concern yourself with wins and losses or home runs and RBI right now.
  3. At some point, some reporter will try to create some controversy because there isn't enough news otherwise to report. There is a 99% chance this reporter will be Dan Shaughnessy.

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