Mar. 4, 2012; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Matt Joyce (20) at bat against the Minnesota Twins at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Spring Training games kicked off this weekend, and the Rays managed to lose both their games to the Twins. If you want to see the full game results, you should head over the Rays Baseball for the boxscores. But now is probably an opportune time to remind everyone to take these results with a grain of salt -- nay, a fistful of salt. Spring training results are all but meaningless, for a variety of reasons:
- Different levels of preparedness. Pitchers have been working out for a few weeks already, while hitters reported to camp more recently. It's tough to get too excited about these early results, as even Double-A pitchers can look amazing right now.
- Players are just trying to get their work in and not get hurt. Players spend spring training trying to work on new things -- either some new mechanics, or ironing out their swing, adding a new pitch, getting their feel back on their pitchers, etc. Since nobody is necessarily trying to do their absolute best, but merely trying to get their work in, the results are difficult to attach any meaning to.
- Small sample size. Even if everyone was playing their hardest and best this month, each player still only sees a handful of at bats or innings pitched. We don't want to draw definitive conclusions about players after one month of the regular season, and that's when position players are getting at-bats every day.
That's not to say I won't enjoy watching some spring training action; it is still baseball, after all. I just can't get myself too excited about the results right now. Even if the Rays go 0-fer spring training, there's no reason to panic.
Judging from their responses to questions, it sounds like many Rays feel similarly. Upton had a great weekend -- a double and an opposite-field triple -- but then tempered his post-game responses by reminding reporters it was still early. (Although in somewhat interesting news, Joe Maddon says Upton is in a great spot mechanically, so that's something.) And David Price's comment on his two-strikeout performance this weekend? "Healthy."
In other news, Matt Moore threw a bullpen session this weekend and is feeling normal. He might see game action as soon as this upcoming weekend. Also, Evan Longoria's hand is feeling better and he will make his game debut this Tuesday. And Stephen Vogt apparently does a killer Joe Maddon impression.