Thursday, 20 March 2008

Spring Training Notes

It's always nice to see players rebound after an injury. Spring training can be an indication of whether or not a player has successfully recovered from said injury. Unless they're doing poorly, in which case spring training is meaningless....

Lyle Overbay is off to a wicked start. In 35 AB he's hitting 371/436/514, and he's been one of the most dangerous bats to date for the Jays (that's not saying much though...). The biggest thing for me, is that out of his 13 hits, 5 are doubles. He hasn't hit a HR yet, but if he's hitting a ton of doubles, it's a great sign.

Scott Rolen's another player coming off an injury plauged season. While I refused to believe him when he claimed his shoulder was better, the numbers speak for themselves. In 26 AB, he's hitting 346/469/615. The significant thing for me is out of his 9 hits, he's hit 2 doubles, a triple and a home run. So it's not like he's getting cheap little hits, he's crushing the ball. And he's showing some nice plate discipline with 5 BB to 5 K's.

Following the Stewart-Johnson debate, nobody has pulled away or proven they deserve a spot. Johnson is hitting 265/316/324, while Stew is hitting 222/323/407. Stew has performed better to date, but I wish I could find some RHP/LHP splits. Stew does have 4 BB to 0 K, whereas Johnson has 0 BB and 4K. He's not doing much to disprove his critics, and unless he makes significant strides the Jays are likely to non-tender him. A shame, cause I'm thinking this one could bite us in the ass.

Everyone seems to be talking about how scrappy Eckstein is, but nobody is talking about how crappy Eckstein has been. He's hitting 161/278/323 so far. He hasn't struck out, and he's got a good OBP differential from his BA, but it's not a good start. Yes, I know it's spring training, but nobody seems to be talking about Eckstein's stats, so I thought it was worth bringing up...

Aaron Hill has been one of the best players to date. He's hitting 429/500/536. The slugging isn't the number that should get your attention - it's the OBP. Opposing pitchers would try to intentionally walk Hill and he'd swing at the pitch. But he's walked a couple times, and that's a good sign going forward. If he walks more in the regular season, he'll have a shot at being in the top tier of 2B in the league.

Wells hasn't been hitting so well, but he's a slow starter. Again, it's only spring training, but you have to be a little worried that Wells is only hitting 257/278/400. He's hitting for very little power, and he's not hitting for average. Knowing he's a slow starter, coming off major surgery, the Jays should bat him at the bottom of the order until he shows he's recovered and productive. They should ease him back in, rather than push him to be the best offensive player on the team. Coming off major surgery, the only thing I want him tearing is the cover off the ball when he launches it into the stands.

As for the pitching, I'm not going to focus on the ERA. The main thing is that guys like Accardo, McGowan, Doc, Litsch & Marcum have solid K:BB rates. I am somewhat concerned about AJ's 5:6 K:BB ratio, but it is spring training and he's without his curveball. Speaking of which, the season starts in a week and a half an AJ still hasn't thrown the curve. I'm extremely paranoid, so I think this is something worth monitoring.


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