Well Spring Training games are underway, and the excitement building up to the season opener April 1 at home vs. the New York Yankees has officially reached the final stage in the long offseason countdown.
Though games have started – and we are all very, very excited at this development — let’s not be fooled by anything but selective takeaways from each Spring Training match.
The final score means nothing, wins and losses mean nothing, player development/progression and preparations for the season ahead mean everything. Whether you topple the Braves or get trounced by the Cardinals, it means nothing compared to a pair of stolen bases by Delino DeShields Jr. or a 2-run bomb from Jonathan Singleton.
Spring Training is absolutely a useful tool but as a fan we have to treat the result as we would an NFL preseason game, and that is not to care at all. Not even a little. What matters is the players are making strides towards reaching the next level of their game.
Of course, unless you have prospects and only prospects throughout your whole Spring Training roster, which the Astros obviously don’t but if anyone’s close it may be them. Seven of the Astros top prospects according to MLB.com entering 2014 are with the team at its camp facilities in Kissimmee, Florida.
2012 first overall pick Carlos Correa (1), future first baseman Jonathan Singleton (2), the household name of George Springer (3), 2013 first overall pick Mark Appel (4), recently groomed starter Mike “Folty” Foltynewicz (6), speedster Delino DeShields (7) and corner outfielder Domingo Santana (9). Quite a group to be excited about.
Springer is the only one with any sort of chance to begin the year in a Major League uniform, but even that is extremely unlikely. However, the presence of these future stars at Spring Training can only be a positive for them and those around them.
Keeping an eye on their numbers instead of say, Spring Training’s “Opening Day” starter Lucas Harrell or Marwin Gonzalez. Aside from the young guns, there is another intriguing group of players to keep tabs on. For these individuals it’s not about the future in a year or more but the future in a month or less.
Also keep an eye on our newbies, like Dexter Fowler, who drove in two runs in his very first game with Astros colors on. Or Matt Albers, who tallied the win in his first game with the Astros in seven years. Or brand new rotation anchor Scott Feldman, who tossed two scoreless innings in his ‘Stros debut the following day.
Any way you shape it, It’s super awesome to have you back baseball.