Only a few days into spring training and we’re already getting excited by early home runs and let down by poor two-to-three inning pitching performances. Spring stats are meaningless, though some teams use them to make roster decisions for some reason. Let’s take a look back at last season’s spring training superstars and if their spring performances translated into regular season success.
Catcher: Jake Fox – .297/.325/.797, 10 HR
The man hit ten bombs in only 74 at-bats and slugged seven freaking ninety seven. While Fox had always flashed a potent power bat, he hadn’t done much other than slam a few dingers over his major league career. His career slash line stands at .237/.288/.425 in 534 plate appearances. Last season, he hit only .246/.313/.443 in a very limited number of at-bats for the Orioles.
Honorable mentions: George Kottaras and Mike Napoli
First base: Mitch Moreland – .403/.437/.716, 4 HR
Moreland actually started 2011 off quite well, posting a .905 OPS in April and a .873 OPS in May. He faded mightily for the rest of the season, however, failing to post more than a .740 OPS in any month thereafter.
Honorable mentions: Kila Ka’aihue and Michael Morse
Ka’aihue hit .397/.462/.845 with seven home runs in the spring, but struggled out of the gates as Kansas City’s starting 1B. he finished the year at .195/.295/.317. The interesting thing about Morse’s hot spring (.364/.421/.818, 9 HR) is that, while he had a fantastic season as a whole, he struggled big-time out of the gates hitting .224/.267/.284 with only one home run in April.
Second base: Rickie Weeks – .442/.500/.615
Weeks was on his way to another fine season when an ankle injury knocked him to the DL.
Honorable mentions: Omar Infante and Skip Schumaker
Third base: Kevin Kouzmanoff – .413/.449/.571, 2 HR
Kouz’s, his molten hot spring was a far cry from the numbers he had put up in over 2,600 career major league plate appearances. When all was said and done, Kouz put up a meager line of .235/.284/.372 between his time with the A’s and Rockies.
Honorable mention: Chone Figgins
Figgins ended up hitting .373/.448/.490 with five stolen bases last spring, number that were light years away from the .188/.241/.243 line he put up during the regular season.
Shortstop: Alcides Escobar – .364/.400/.636, 5 HR, 2 SB
Well on his way to a 20/20 season…er…no. Escobar was always a highly regarded prospect and he certainly hit in the minor leagues, but his free-swinging ways have gotten the best of him thus far in his big league career. After slugging those five home runs in spring training, Escobar only managed four during the regular season to go along with an anemic .254/.290/.343 slash line.
Honorable mentions: Hanley Ramirez and Asdrubal Cabrera
Cabrera was actually one of the player who had their hot spring carry over into the regular season. He hit .293/.347/.489 with 14 home runs and 12 stolen bases in the first half before fading to .244/.310/.419 in the second half.
Left field: Jeremy Reed – .431/.463/.490, 3 SB
Reed played in only seven major league games for the Brewers last season where he managed seven plate appearances, no hits and two strikeouts. He played in only 40 games combined between the Brewers and Twins Triple-A teams, hitting a combined .203/.280/.305.
Honorable mentions: Alex Gordon, Ben Francisco, Travis Buck, Juan Rivera
Center field: Melky Cabrera – .468/.471/.742, 2 HR, 3 SB
Melky was one of the few 2011 spring training all-stars to actually go on to have a very good season (.305/.339/.470, 18 HR, 20 SB, 102 R, 87 RBI).
Honorable mentions: Marlon Byrd, Coco Crisp, Jacoby Ellsbury
Right field: Jose Bautista – .400/.426/.700, 3 HR
Bautista clearly went on to have a fantastic season, but his spring numbers barely beat out those of, you guessed it, the one and only Erick Almonte (see below).
Honorable mention: Erick Almonte
Erick Almonte, the 33-year-old minor league veteran (over 5000 minor league plate appearances) hit .416/.438/.636 last spring with three home runs.
Starting pitcher: Roy Halladay – 4-0, 0.42 ERA
Honorable mention: Kyle McClellan