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Three Year Aggregate Spring Training Numbers

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Don't pay attention to the numbers in Spring Training.  Well what fun is that? They might be indicative of very little and be composed of tiny sample sizes, but I can't risk my calculator getting rusty. The "Don't Pay Attention" mantra is frequently repeated, but outside of a few cherry picked pieces of data, I was unable to even find historical Spring Training statistics...until today.

I stumbled upon the past 3 seasons of Spring Training data on the player pages at mlb.com. This allowed me to aggregate larger samples, though still small, and see if any players did stand out as historically slow starters. The table of all Rays spring-sters with a minimum of 75 at-bats can be found after the jump sorted by OPS:

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Elliot Johnson

112

0.375

0.417

0.598

1.015

Sean Rodriguez

99

0.283

0.343

0.626

0.969

BJ Upton

75

0.307

0.373

0.587

0.960

Ryan Shealy

103

0.282

0.378

0.573

0.951

Kelly Shoppach

110

0.291

0.376

0.573

0.949

Dioner Navarro

108

0.380

0.432

0.509

0.941

Ben Zobrist

94

0.287

0.422

0.489

0.912

Evan Longoria

111

0.288

0.388

0.495

0.883

Justin Ruggiano

84

0.321

0.374

0.500

0.874

Carl Crawford

119

0.277

0.333

0.521

0.854

Willy Aybar

78

0.295

0.368

0.474

0.842

Pat Burrell

136

0.257

0.369

0.463

0.832

Reid Brignac

102

0.275

0.321

0.490

0.811

Jason Bartlett

120

0.325

0.362

0.425

0.787

Carlos Pena

112

0.205

0.326

0.438

0.763

Gabe Kapler

124

0.177

0.261

0.258

0.519

 

Maybe it's time to have whichever catcher isn't in the lineup hit in a designated fashion while Ryan Shealy, Sean Rodriguez, and Elliot Johnson clearly have earned their way into the lineup.  In all seriousness, Kapler and Pena are indeed habitually slow starters and players fighting for roster spots and far greater salaries appear less likely to show up for meaningless day games with Grapefruit League hangovers. Additionally, players slotted for the back end of games generally will face weaker pitching.