Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Wood Swings Wood

Monday, February 26, 2024

Monday Quickie - Wood Swings Wood

James Wood hit two homers this weekend. 

That's it. 

You know how I feel about Spring Training stats by now. But of course we'll go through the annual reminder... 

Who led the Nats in HR last Spring?  Dom Smith! (and Riley Adams)

Who was the best hitter for the Nats last Spring (with a decent number of PAs)? Alex Call! next was Garcia! then Smith! 

Who was the best pitcher for the Nats last Spring? Josiah Gray with a 0.55 ERA!  Then Hobie Harris with 0.90 over 10IP. 

Who was worst? Wily Peralta. (who was also bad in the regular season in AAA)

Spring is basically meaningless. Sometimes things match up with the regular season, sometimes they don't.  There's a bit of "maybe power showings are real" thought but no one has doubted that James Wood has power.  Yes, this showing is real. But we knew that already.  The question with James is what level of contact will he make in the majors and where does that put his floor and ceiling. And we've got years to figure that exactly out. 

So again Spring is here. Just enjoy watching some guys take some swings, but don't you take anything else from it.


Anonymous said...

I was thinking to myself this weekend that it should soon be time for Harper’s first “spring training stats don’t matter” post. Baseball is truly back baby!

Harper said...

People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for when I can write a Spring Training stats don't matter post.

Anonymous said...

I mean, yes. But...

Ok, so with Wood, 2 HRs in 2 games is super fun but you're right there's not really any new information here. Even if the second was against a lefty's breaking ball... he's a AAAA pitcher. We already knew Wood was probably good; the likelihoods haven't changed and almost can't during ST.

But with Hassell, I've almost written him off because I haven't believed the hamate injury as the main/sole cause of his underperformance. Two games doesn't make a trend, but if he can make solid contact over the next few weeks, I do think it makes sense to revive him as a prospect -- and restore him to around Morales and Vaquero and not down with Lile and Green. I'll admit that's where a lot of evaluators already have him, so maybe this only feels like real information because my priors are skewed. But in any case, that is definitely one of the things I'm watching and rooting for beyond the most important: "no injuries".

John C. said...

There's always a corner of fandom that considers ST statistics as relevant only to the extent that they reinforce their existing opinions. But for most of us it's just fun to have baseball back again. And when we dream on Wood/Crews/Hassell, we recognize that we're dreaming but still enjoying the potential.

And that's why I also don't concern myself too much with Keibert Ruiz's really bad no good start to ST, with two catcher's interference calls and one passed ball in just four innings of work. He's changed his catching style to the down-on-one-knee style. I'm not crazy about it, but it seems to be taking over MLB so it's likely that the metrics back it up. Since he's learning an entirely new technique it would be surprising if he didn't struggle early. That's what the learning curve is all about. And at least it shows that Ruiz and the Nats are aware that defense is a problem in his game.

Harper said...

Anon @ 8:28 - injury recovery is one of the few things ST can be looked for. You can't really tell if someone is healthy by these exhibitions, but you can get a good idea. As opposed to looking at stats where you should be taking no ideas. For Hassell I'd like to see him knock a couple over the wall. Just a couple - to me that's what he'd do in an average Spring the way he was coming up before the injury. Of course - ST stats don't matter so he could crush a couple to straight away center that get run down and pull a couple more just foul and we wouldn't see it in the stats - but I'd still like to see it.

John C - Yep. ST is where you should be trying things out and possibly failing. That's what it's for. Honestly if I kind of like good pitchers having bad ERAs in Spring because it can mean they are working on something to make themselves better.

Chaos56 said...

100% agree on the "just watching some guys take some swings".....but Wood's first was a NICE swing.

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

Well there's that HR from Hassell for you. Let's see if it continues. I've enjoyed the scoring alerts for today's game, lots of Hassell/Crews/Wood. Let's hope that's a harbinger of things to come

Kevin Rusch said...

I know spring training stats don't mean anything, but it's still nicer to see the new guys hitting than not.

Anonymous said...

Related to this conversation, I saw that someone asked Szymborski how he tagged spring training data to account for quality of competition etc and he said that Zips doesn't use spring training data at all.

Who knows how hard he looked, but probably at least a little. I'd say that's a pretty strong datapoint that there is no information available here. Way beyond just small sample size.

Still, it's fun to have baseball to watch again.