Jays Spring Training Stats and Oddities

As we wind down to the final few games of spring training and finally head towards the beginning of the 2011 season, I thought it would be fun to sift through some of the stats from this spring training and to see what looks right, and what looks odd. I want to stress that I don’t put any stock into spring training stats, other than to say that one hitter or pitcher seems to be “right” and healthy, but it’s still a fun excercise that can sometimes point to guys that could surprise during the upcoming season.

Here’s a run down of what I’ve noticed to this point:

  • Yunel Escobar, who is having one of the best springs of all Jays players and is hitting .414/.469/.552 to this point is the only Jays player to have more walks (6) than strike outs (5) this spring.
  • Rajai Davis, who was brought in from Oakland to bring some speed to the Jays lineup, only has 1 stolen base this spring. Meanwhile, he is 2nd for the Jays in doubles (8), and leads (or is tied for the lead) in triples (2), HRs (4), XBH (14), SLG (.804) and TB (45).
  • Sticking with the speed aspect, Jose Bautista was the only regular to steal more than 1 base this spring training with 2 SB. The remainder of multiple base stealers (Patterson -4, Lawrie – 3, Gose – 9, Thames – 6, Mastroianni – 2) are all expected to begin 2011 on the bench or in the minors.
  • J. P. Arencibia tied for the Jays lead in walks with 7, a positive sign that offset the fact that he also tied for the strike out lead with Eric Thames with 16 punch outs.
  • Every Jays regular and bench player currently has a .300 average or higher aside from Arencibia (.189), Encarnacion (.254), and Patterson (.220).
  • As for the surprise minor league hitting performance of the spring, that title goes to David Cooper who managed a nice .349/.375/.488 line with 3 BB and only 6 Ks. Still, he only managed 2 extra base hits, both HRs, in 43 ABs, so he still has a lot to improve on in the minors.
  • Carlos Villanueva may have earned himself a spot in the pen with a 12 IP / 8 hits / 1 ER / 7 BB / 13 K performance.
  • Jesse Litsch has thrown the most innings of the spring thus far with 22 IP, and is also tied for the lead with Ricky Romero with 20 strike outs.
  • Jon Rauch, Drew Hutchison, and Henderson Alvarez were the only 2 Jays pitchers to not allow 1 ER this spring, Rauch did it over 8 IP, while Alvarez did it over 4 IP. Hutchison, meanwhile, had the performance of his career as he shut down a veteran Phillies lineup and only allowed 2 hits and 1 walk over 4.2 IP. Roy Halladay had to be sitting on the bench thinking…..uh oh….where are we going to get our runs from without Chase Utley? Hutchison will now remain well embedded in the minds of the Jays as someone to look forward to seeing again.
  • Kyle Drabek and Jo Jo Reyes proved to be up for the fight for a rotation spot as both kept tidy ERAs (3.27 and 3.32 respectively). Jesse Litsch was no pushover himself, managing an impressive 20/3 total for his K/BB ratio. All 3 deserve a look, and thanks to the DL stint Brandon Morrow was “forced” to make, they’ll each get at least 1 kick at the can.
  • David Purcey arguably had the worse spring of all Jays relievers, allowing 10 walks and 9 hits over a 9.2 inning span while managing 7 Ks.
  • Meanwhile, Casey Janssen (1.93 ERA), Shawn Camp (1.59 ERA), and Jason Frasor (1.80 ERA) all seem to be in top form as the season approaches.

That’s the bulk of the spring training oddities and stats that I’ve noticed to this point. The Jays are in fine form right now, only have a few injury issues to worry about at this point, the worse of which could be Morrow’s elbow issues. But, if all goes well and he returns to form, the Jays will head into the season with what has been a very productive and fun to follow spring training behind them. Not of what’s happened stats wise this spring means anything in terms of the 2011 season, but if the cohesiveness and focus that the Jays have shown us this spring is an indication of what’s to come this season, we’re in for one treat fo a season. If I take anything away from this spring training, it’s that the Jays have a group of very electric players and pitchers backing up the regulars for the first time in a very long time, something that could come in very handy when injuries occur. And that’s cause for lots of optomism this season.

- MG

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Tags: Brandon Morrow Casey Janssen David Cooper David Purcey Drew Hutschison Henderson Alvarez Jason Frasor Jesse Litsch Jon Rauch Jose Bautista JP Arencibia Kyle Drabek Rajai Davis Shawn Camp Yunel Escobar

  • Mylegacy

    On many levels I think the team will surprise this season.

    I think the starting pitching will be worse than we were hoping for. The loss of Morrow – if for any length of time will really hurt – he’s our only true Ace potential guy. There looks like 5 or 6 very good relievers – more after the injured return.

    Offensively – I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised. We’ve a lot of power – almost as much as last year – a slim possibility we’ve even more! Speed – we’re gonna rock this year with everybody except Molina being given more rope to steal than they’re used to.

    The total package of respectable pitching – no real black holes in the starting rotation or bullpen combined with an offense with increased speed, new growth (Snider, Escobar), return to form (Lind, Hill), and a newer more “post steroid era” offensive philosophy and I see a summer of fun watching our guys overachieve and threaten for Glory.

    Unfortunately – I see them falling short – again – I’d say – baring a miracle – we’ve a reasonable chance of getting third, more likely fourth and if Baltimore’s young pitching develops – yikes – we could have a very nice and entertaining season and still finish last.

    Such is life, as it is lived in the AL East – sigh.

    • John Havok

      Just a couple points..

      #1 The Jays are not all of a sudden going to be this massive base stealing team that takes bags at will. realistically there is only 2 or 3 legit stolen base threats on the club, and 2 (McCoy and Patterson) of the 3 (davis being the 3rd) will reside on the bench for the most part and see limited action in a pinch runner type role and the odd start to rest a regular.

      Where I think the base running will be noticed more is the ability to go first to third on singles and scoring from 1st on a double. This club as a whole are better baserunners than in previous years and while we will steal more bases than last year, we arent going to be league leaders by any stretch. The Jays are still going to need a lot of those long balls to hang in games as the team OBP is completely reliant on guys like Lind, Hill, escobar etc getting back to career norms.

      #2 in game managing. Farrell has already shown in spring training the ability to use the bunt in certain situations to move runners when it makes sense ( squeeze bunt? what? ), employ the hit and run and other things that our previous manager forgot existed. Couple that with better bullpen management and Farrell is already a vast improvement over the last 2 years skipper. This should translate into a better record in those 1 run ball games.

  • Brendon C

    I liked the analyssi, however I was surprised there was no commentary on Rivera or Snider?

  • JayTeam

    Good stuff, Mat. One trend I hope continues,is Aaron Hill doesn’t seem to be swinging for the fences, as evidenced by his 4 doubles in only 17 AB’s. Hopefully he’s abandoned the uppercut swing of last year and gone back to the line drive swing of ’09. The one thing that scares me is Cecil may have Kazmiritis – “my velocity has fallen down and can’t get up”. We need a healthy and effective Cecil going forward if we’re going to be contenders. I’m wishing Brett the best.