In Case You Were Worrying about the Offense
As has been widely reported, the Phillies entered today’s game against the Yankees with the lowest team OPS this spring at .606. They also trailed in batting average at .198 and doubles with 14. I’ve already written about why spring stats don’t matter, but I wanted to quickly put the issue in another light.
I sorted the Phillies’ players by at-bats taken in the Grapefruit League (MLB.com doesn’t keep track of plate appearances for some strange reason). Then, I classified them into one of four groups: starter, bench player, non-roster invitee, or Minor Leaguer (AAA). Entering today’s action, the Phillies had taken 470 at-bats. 181 were taken by starters (38.5%), 113 were taken by bench players (24%), 89 by non-roster invitees (19%), and 87 by a Minor Leaguer (18.5%).
The stats and the summary for your perusal:
|John Mayberry, Jr.||20||Bench|
|Tony Gwynn, Jr.||14||NRI|
Starters have taken fewer than two out of every five at-bats this spring. Combined with bench players, they have accounted for fewer than two-thirds of all at-bats taken. This is compared to, say, 75 and 90 percent, respectively, during the regular season.
How the Phillies perform as a team during spring training has little to no bearing on how they will perform during the regular season. A significant portion of the at-bats in the Grapefruit League are being taken by players who will make virtually no impact on the team between April and September. The Phillies may be at the bottom in terms of OPS, but the Red Sox, Reds, Dodgers, and Rangers can also be found in the bottom-third as well, and no one’s writing them off because of it.