It’s funny how sometimes irrational hopes and wild conjecture trumps logic. We see it every year from baseball fans and pundits alike during spring training.
The perennial argument inevitably springs up that there is somehow, some sort of correlation between a teams’ win-loss records in the Cactus and (in the Blue Jays case) Grapefruit leagues, and the actual season.
It’s funny because the stats don’t back it up. Just to give you an example, the 2012 Jays had a superb spring, going 24-7 but a disappointing season, finishing at an extremely lack-lustre 73-89.
That’s the thing about spring training: it’s real purpose is, that it’s the only platform that has both established veterans, and prospects, sharing the same stage. It provides a unique environment in that regard, and the real value then, and purpose of the exercise is to get eyes on everyone in the same forum – old-school scouting.
The metrics themselves can be deceiving because it’s only 1-month’s worth of sample size, give or take a couple of days this year because of the impact of the World Baseball Classic.
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Thus it usually follows that prospects “knocking on the door” as it were, might get us hoping that the actual future is now, but ultimately the reality will have to be that the Anthony Alford‘s, Richard Urena‘s and yes, Rowdy Tellez‘s will have to go back to the farm and get their regular reps in until the actual door is open.
So, what does this all have to do with the 2017 Jays? Well, the club does actually have to make some decisions as a few jobs are still up for grabs. That’s what makes this year’s Toronto Blue Jays camp that much more exciting, or at the very least more intriguing, than in some year’s past.
The 25-man roster we’ll be taking north is far from certain. Questions remain in the bullpen, left field and the bench. One concern for example, is forcing
to try and pass through waivers (being out of options) as
has the better bat. That’s a gamble I’d hate to have to make – Goins’ glove can easily warrant him a job somewhere in MLB so we do run the risk of having him taken away from us.
But look, it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve lost talent in this manner. Off the top of my head, most recently Moisés Sierra comes to mind. We couldn’t fit him in the 25-man and he was left packing his bags (to be honest he did make the club out of spring in 2014, but was DFA’d in early May and scooped up by the Chicago White Sox). His name doesn’t seem to appear in the press much anymore though, so likely not a huge loss. I’ll even admit I’d have to google which organization he is with now.
This year the Jays have a lot of players competing for jobs in the pen and left field. Obviously depth is a good problem to have – a nice bumper crop from the farm, plus some savvy veteran acquisitions by our front office have allowed for this pleasant dilemma.
However, moves can be made internally and via trade in-season so “everything should fall into place”, but seriously, what about a guy like Dalton Pompey?
Which brings us back to that irrational exuberance we baseball fans have at this time of year, all full of hope for the campaign that lies ahead.
Maybe, just maybe this year the unexpected actually does happen; like say Pompey continues to look good, in Dunedin and at the WBC, and Upton keeps whiffing. What’s your move then? It certainly would be nice to have a prototypical lead-off hitter in this line-up for once.