Four games into the season, and the inevitable speculation has begun. Melky Carbrera has been putting up great numbers, Jeremy Affeldt got lit up against a guy who will be riding a bus all summer. So, time to celebrate? Time to panic? Time to yawn and check for what else is on TV?
Obviously you’d rather see guys do well than struggle, even if the games don’t count, but I’m not one for putting much stock in Cactus League numbers. Especially when it’s a team such as the Giants that has 20 or 21 of the roster spots already decided. Guys aren’t trying to win. Hell, they aren’t even trying to put up great results, they’re just trying to make sure their pitches are breaking and hoping they don’t catch a bad hop in the junk.
Kids, on the other hand, have something to prove. The guy with a number up in the 80s knows that he has to open eyes if he wants to be on the radar for a September call-up. That’s the guy that’s going to try and go the extra mile by breaking out the strikeout pitch or pushing for the extra base.
One trend that has been noted is that the teams that finish atop the spring training standings tend to do poorly in the regular season. The idea is that with less talent and more farmhands on the roster, you have a whole lineup going all-out and fighting for wins.
To that end, it’s nice to see the roster guys produce, but I’d much rather see them focused on getting healthy and letting the kids try to win games later in the day. If the hitters are seeing the ball and the pitchers are hitting their spots come April, who really gives a damn about their spring winning percentage?