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There are a lot of clichés surrounding spring training. Some say statistics don’t matter at all. I would fully agree with that as it relates to the players with sure roster spots. The Twins have 21 or 22 spots on their roster that are already determined. The statistics of those players are essentially meaningless. There is little, if any, correlation between spring statistics (good or bad) and regular season success.
Spring stats matter to those who are fighting for a roster spot. As I wrote yesterday, this probably indicates that spring performance matters to Dusty Hughes, Jim Hoey, Kyle Waldrop, Jeff Manship, Matt Tolbert, Luke Hughes and Jeff Bailey.
Another adage that many baseball people say frequently is that spring numbers and performance do not matter until the final two weeks of spring leading up to Opening Day. At that point, many players have been sent to minor league camp. Hitters are getting three or four at bats most games and they are against pitchers who are likely to be on a big league roster at some point in 2011.
If that is true, and we have one more week of spring training, then the stats from the past week matter a little bit, right? The Twins had an off day last Tuesday, so below are the stats for many of the Twins players over the last week, starting with the hitters:
- Denard Span has a hit in all five games he has played in this past week.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka has also played in five games and gone 6-15 (.400).
- Delmon Young has played in six games and gone 6-18 (.333).
- Danny Valencia is 1-13 in his last four games.
- Luke Hughes, the guy everyone seems to think should be given the Twins utility infield spot, has played in six games and is 2-21 (.095), including going 0-13 in his past four games.
- Matt Tolbert has started twice in the last week and gone 5-8 in those two games, including a home run.
- Jeff Bailey is 4-11 in his past three games. He is the one player who has played in all seven games.
Here are the numbers over the past week for a few of the Twins pitchers:
- Jim Hoey, who was hit hard early in camp and walked quite a few, pitched three times in the last week. In three innings, he has not given up a run. He has given up just one hit, walked none and struck out four.
- Glen Perkins has pitched twice. In his two innings, he has not allowed a run.
- Carlos Gutierrez has got three innings and not allowed a run despite four hits and three walks.
- Dusty Hughes, who many (including me) are calling a given at this point, pitched in three games in the past week. He has thrown four scoreless innings, but he has given up four hits and walked five batters. Those are the types of numbers that Scott Diamond put up in his first two outings that got him called “disappointing” by Twins brass.
What does all this mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe it will matter as the final roster spots are chosen. I think looking at stats from the entire spring, Luke Hughes and Dusty Hughes would be favorites for roster spots with the Twins. However, if stats from the past week are to mean more, then maybe we need to take a second look at guys like Jim Hoey, Matt Tolbert and Jeff Bailey.
You all know how I feel about small sample sizes, good or bad. We all acknowledge that we don’t see what happens outside of box scores. We all understand that there are intangibles that go beyond those box scores as well.
If you like, please feel free to comment.