One of the draws are obvious: the players are back and on a stadium field. The other you have to visit to really appreciate: the concessions and beer in the stadium are all 50% off. We took it all in and you could have followed along in real time: just follow @TwinsDaily on twitter.
- Feb 17 2020 06:44 PM
- by John Bonnes
Spring stats can also be incredibly misleading. Seth discussed Luke Hughes yesterday, for instance, and his knack for impressive March performances that won him a spot on the Twins’ bench in 2011 and 2012. Seth implies that the regular playing time Hughes received those springs helped him, and that the inconsistent playing time he got as a Twin disrupted his rhythm and prevented him from being a success.
With all due respect, I think that’s ridiculous because it ignores who Hughes was facing and the context in which he was facing them. As Seth himself points out, even the greatest pitchers of our generation use spring training to work out the kinks, and couldn’t give a damn if some replacement-level Aussie takes them deep on the fourth slider in a row. Moreover, Hughes was also getting plenty of plate appearances against the Double- and Triple-A pitchers in the same boat he was. When Hughes got to the majors, he performed exactly like you’d expect a hacktastic middle infielder would.
Oh, spring training is important; don’t get me wrong. Guys need the time to get back in shape after the offseason. As Seth points out, guys who have not been healthy need an opportunity to show that they’re recovered. But it’s essentially a tune-up. A four week long Leap Day. Nothing anybody does really matters, unless they get hurt. And none of the decisions a good club makes in March is going to have a significant impact on their regular season.
I’m not complaining, however. After all, bad organizations are the ones that are swayed by unexpectedly strong spring performances. Take Luke Hughes, for instance. Or three years ago, when the Twins talked themselves into Aaron Hicks as the Opening Day center fielder at least in part because of his spring training, in particular his three-homer game. The club lost 96 games. That same year, the Orioles got excited by Jake Fox’s 10 spring training home runs and brought him north for Opening Day. They lost 93 games, Fox was DFA’d in June, and hasn’t ever appeared in the majors again.
So, sure. Try to read the tea leaves. Marvel at Byung-ho Park’s three homers. Ponder whether Fernando Abad’s four innings are more meaningful than Taylor Rogers’ four innings or Ryan O’Rourke’s four innings. Worry about Ricky Nolasco’s 7.36 ERA or Byron Buxton’s .200 batting average. I can’t do it. None of it means anything to me. And it shouldn’t to the Twins either. Good teams have a plan and stick to it, and the lack of drama in Fort Myers is the best lack of news I’ve had in a long time. It's a sign that, maybe, the Twins are a healthier organization than I've given them credit for.
- Mar 16 2016 04:44 AM
- by MikeBates