Don’t stress if Ken Giles struggles in spring training this year. He has struggled before for the Astros and Phillies.
Hello, welcome to the Twilight Zone known as spring training. It is a place where young players try to show the Astros what they got, and veterans try to gear up for the season. Where players earn their way onto the team but sometimes don’t stick around too long. You have to look at spring success or failure with a grain of salt.
For players like Ken Giles, he has struggled in spring training before. During his first spring camp in 2014 with the Phillies, he pitched well enough to impress the team with a 2.08 ERA. After he established himself in 2014, he struggled the next spring with an 8.00 ERA in 10 appearances.
During the 2016 spring camp, fresh off being traded to the Astros, Giles struggled again with 6.75 ERA. That was among the drama of who the closer was between himself and Luke Gregerson. The way the Astros handled that situation still boggles me, but Giles eventually became the closer.
He does not always struggle.
Last season, Giles had a great spring with a 2.79 ERA while striking out 16 hitters in 9 2/3 innings. There was no drama about who the closer was, and Giles was just focusing on pitching. It is no surprise that Giles went on to have a career year last year for the World Champs.
This spring, Giles is coming off the devastating World Series performance. While the Astros have faith in him to rebound this year, you will see some people fly off the wheels every time he struggles. I still remember the phone calls to Talking Stros on Sportstalk 790 calling for Giles’ job.
Last night, in a meaningless game in the sixth inning, Giles made his second spring appearance. The inning started with a throwing error by Randy Cesar, who just came in the game as a defensive replacement. Giles faced six batters before he was pulled, but allowed four unearned runs.
Giles also threw a wild pitch but was replaced by Trent Thornton. As my Talking Stros co-host explains, Giles appearance was not as bad as it looks.
Regaining the trust.
Giles was in the Astros fans’ circle of trust, but the postseason performance has led to some doubters. As someone who writes about the Astros a lot, I am not too worried about Giles as the closer for the 2018 season and beyond.
When it comes to his spring stats, I do not take too much stock in them unless they are trying to make the team. I will watch the battle between Tyler White and J.D. Davis to see who is the first baseman while Yuli Gurriel is out. I just want Giles to go out there and prepare for the regular season.
It seems like Giles will make eight more appearances before the end of spring training. He has a career 5.04 ERA in spring training. We will also see him transition away from the sixth inning to the ninth inning. Once the regular season comes, we will see how he performs in games that matter. Until then, no worries here.
***Stats from MLB.com***