Baseball Reference has done it again.
Just when I thought the site had every baseball statistic imaginable, I recently came across one I hadn't noticed before. Player pages currently feature 2014 spring training stats, and included in the stat line is something called "OppQual." This is a 1-to-10 scale that measures the average level at which opposing hitters and pitchers played last season, ranging from Rookie ball all the way to the majors. (A "1" actually represents an opposing batter who is a pitcher.)
If you've been targeting youngsters Nick Castellanos, Corey Dickerson and Jacob Turner because of their encouraging spring numbers, just bear in mind that all three registered an 8.3 on the OppQual scale, meaning their typical opposition has been of Triple-A quality. Are veterans Dustin Ackley and Jason Vargas due for breakouts, as their spring numbers suggest? Their 8.4 ratings hint that they, too, have been fattening up against lesser competition.
I wouldn't regret having drafted Castellanos or Dickerson just because they didn't face the most seasoned competition this spring, but these data will likely lead to me to view them with a more skeptical eye in the early going.