Numbers mean nothing at all and everything in the world in Spring Training.
Thanks for reading.
Kidding, but the two statistics that draw the most attention in sports and last clap contests are the big W and the big L; wins and losses. However, they are simply a required tally for most of Spring Training, perhaps situationally excluding the last week or so when the regulars for the upcoming season start to get most of the reps and the youth on site is funneled out into minor league camp. Even then, Major League Baseball’s preseason is all about personal progression and furthering along your own route. Most ballplayers come to camp with a multitude of goals but a much more solidified vantage point on where the end of March will leave them residing.
The annual exceptions have kept their form. Non-roster invites and position battles and bullpen slots are usually up for grabs at each and every team site. There’s also the minor league invitees who report to the big league club’s branch of the preseason to showcase themselves, usually for future consideration rather than a roster spot, but the two are hardly different when it comes down to it.
The Astros fall into each and every one of these categories, but given the state of the team the focus has been on hot prospects George Springer, Jonathan Singleton and Carlos Correa among others. Let’s focus on the first two, even as exciting and encouraging every little thing Carlos Correa does is overflowing with hope. Lots and lots of hope. Just not now. Or soon. But hope.
Springer had an outside chance to win a roster spot, but between service time and everyday at bats, I’m not sure anyone really expected the 2013 super prospect to start the year with the Astros. Even if he had earth shattering numbers in March’s exhibition games, it was systematically implausible that he make the team.
In any case, the 24-year old has not had that kind of March. In seven games he has a .077 BA with five strikeouts, not massaging that noted area of concern.
Like any good pro, he is producing in other areas. He’s 3/3 on the base paths through March 9th and despite a very low hitting average he does possess a .368 OBP thanks to six walks, tied for first of all candidates, with Jon Singleton. Which leads us into the Astros other young slugger.
Singleton’s path to being the club’s everyday first baseman took a hit when a marijuana suspension caused him to miss the first 50 games of last season. He began the campaign at AA Corpus Christi (which I selfishly loved because I got to see him live) but after 11 games played out the remainder of the year in AAA. Despite this unfortunate relapse in the young Astro’s career, he’s still just 22 years of age.
Apart of big league camp, the best thing you can say about his offense so far is that he’s seen 49 pitches. Guess who’s second? Well George Springer of course, who’s seen 48 in two less plate appearances. For the power hitting lefty, the positives end there.
Actually he’s drawn six free passes, but I already said that I’m just seeking X2 combo points for it. Because in the remainder of his AB’s he’s yet to register a hit with Springer once again just trailing him in a category, with one. We don’t like this one as much, though.
Safe to say it’s been a struggle for these two young bright Astros so far in Spring Training 2014. As much as we would love to see them shine in the here and now, their value to the club comes later — while for now the progression and development of George Springer and Jonathan Singleton are happening as much off the diamond as on it.
And you should still be very excited.