Nationals Baseball: When it's ok to look at Spring Training stats

Monday, March 07, 2011

When it's ok to look at Spring Training stats

Sort of.

Normally I speak out against the evils of looking at Spring Training performances. It's been proven time and again that they just don't correlate with how a player does during the regular season. Yet, there is one time when it's perfectly acceptable to me to use Spring Training statistics to make a decision: When you have no idea what to use.

When you have several guys with a mish-mash of experience, fighting over one spot, why not just use the Spring Training stats? There is no clear-cut favorite between Detwiler, Maya, and Gorzelanny (forget about Wang for now... in fact I'd forget about Wang period since he was always a pitcher who was skating on the edge because he put so many balls in play. Now he's the same thing, except 31 years old and coming back from a 2-year injury). The stats, in my mind, don't really favor anyone. Ideally we'd expect the team's coaches are looking at a guy's delivery and stuff and making a decision based on improvements and minute changes that we don't see reading box scores from hundreds of miles away. Maybe this is happening. In reality though, the guys that are doing great in Spring Training are, duh, almost certainly going to look the best, and coaches can't help but be influenced by these things.

Livan, Marquis, Lannan, ZNN should be set in stone, regardless of how well they fare in Spring. For that last spot though, it can be a battle of who pitches best in March. It'll probably work out just as well, and it's a lot more fun than who's delivery looks the strongest.


Donald said...

Assuming at the moment that the fifth spot is a fight between Detwiler, Maya and Gorzelanny, it's possible that we enter the season with a platoon. Detwiler is out of options so I'm assuming he makes the team in some capacity (fifth guy or long reliever). And given the money, I'm making the same assumption about Gorzelanny and probably Maya. Does Maya have options? In any case, if all three are on the roster, maybe Riggs starts whoever he thinks matches up best on that given day and waits to see if someone seizes the spot over time.

Rich said...

Detwiler has an option left. We are going with Gorzelanny barring injury.

Harper said...

Donald : Ladson posted the options the other day

Maya's got TWO options left which makes him the odds on favorite to lose out on the 5th starter position.

or the blog Nationals Arm Race did some looking into too

Rich - Understood but I think that the Nats would have no issue going with Detwiler (or Maya) slotting Gorzelanny into long relief and using him as insurance if (when, really) someone gets injured or sucks too much.

Wally said...

Does Gorzy even have any stats yet? Seems like Detwiler wins the media award so far although he did look good yesterday to my eye. I have been intrigued by Gorzy but I am a little worried that his pneumonia and back have slowed him down enough that he starts to feel some pressure to rush back. I really hope the Nats staff stay patient with him (and make him stay patient with himself).

Anyone see the Fangraphs Nats preview by Dave Cameron? More positive than i would have expected. My boy Stammen got some props.