We're somewhere between knee and waist-deep in Spring Training, so it seems like a good time to take a look at the club and see how they're doing. The 5-11-2 record isn't good, but it shouldn't set off any alarms either. Early on, the regular players play half the game, if that, with kids from all walks of the minor league system filling in.
Spring records are a strange thing. If you're team's struggling, it's so easy to dismiss it. They're just getting their work in...the kids are playing most of the innings...pitchers are working on new pitches, etc. If you're winning, well, that's another story. They're looking good...mid-season form...how 'bout the kids, the future looks bright, etc. The truth, as it often is, is somewhere in between. Records really don't mean jack, but we can look at some stats to get a feel for how some of the players are looking. Let's do that now, shall we?
We'll start with Brandon Wood. I like the .275 average. I love the .396 OBP. I want to marry the 7 strikeouts in 40 AB's. That would equate to around 100 K's over the course of 600 AB's. Of course, he'll be facing much better pitching day-in day-out, but it is a pretty good sign. If Woody can keep the K's to around 150, he should have a heck of a season. Also, he sports a flawless fielding percentage at 3B. Looking forward to watching the kid on a daily basis.
Also looking good: Mike Napoli. Naps is flat out raking with a team-leading 4HR and a nice .310 average. Kendry Morales is doing his best to show everyone last season was no fluke. The switch-hitting first baseman is hitting .387 with 2HR and 9RBI. A repeat of K-Mo's .300/30/100 from last season isn't all that far-fetched.
I'm not very concerned with the slow starts of Matsui and Abreu. Veterans with track records like those two guys will be fine. Just stay healthy. Please. I am a little concerned with Erick Aybar. He's a bit banged up, and he hasn't really got his timing at the plate hitting just .111. Nice to have Maicer Izturis waiting in the wings.
The pitching hasn't been great, but that's completely normal. Most guys aren't even at full strength until about a month into the season. No worries. The main bullpen guys have been very good though, especially Brian Fuentes. Maybe having Fernando Rodney looking over his shoulder will keep him motivated.
Youngsters making an impression:
Cory Aldridge: .333, 2HR, seemingly makes a spectacular catch every other game
Bobby Wilson: .357, playing a solid backstop. Could be trade bait later in the year
Michael Ryan: .391, 7RBI