Let me start off this post by saying that we have a month of spring training left so there is a lot of change to come and all spring training events are small sample size due to the variability of each encounter because the primary objective is to ready oneself for the season.
Spring Training is the time for snap judgments and irrationality, but here are some tips to think about as we go through another month of Spring Training
Looking at pure stat lines tells you very little. For example Joseph and Brown hit home runs off a pitcher who has never pitched above hi-A and Asche’s opposite field double should have been caught. That being said, don’t discount any event, everything is information, the context is an important part of that, don’t leave it out. To gather the most context, watch/listen to the game (if possible), read play-by-play, read the recaps, and when in doubt just ask, someone probably caught it.
The Process is More Important than the Results:
When it comes to hitters pay attention to how they are hitting the ball not what is happening after they do. Is a hitter making solid contact or does he flail at everything? Then, is he getting better over time? For a pitcher look at things like, whether he is repeating his delivery or hitting the catcher’s target. The fielding is poor this time of year and everything is small sample so don’t worry about what happens after it leaves his hand. On defense if there are mistakes being made, it is important to see why, being rusty is normal, being physically unable to make a play is something different. Take note if a player tried to make a play regardless of the outcome (ex: charged a ball in the infield rather than let it be a hit)
If you have seen a player before, try to compare what they are doing now compared to last year. Don’t panic if it is different, spring training is the time to tinker.
Watch Other Teams Prospects:
You will gain a better understanding of what makes a good player if you watch good players. If a guy on a Top 100 list is having an at bat or pitching and inning, watch it. There is a reason that they rank well and you can really get a good view on what prospects looks like. That and if you like baseball in general it is always more fun to watch good talent play.
BONUS (If you have MLBTV): Go back and watch prospects on other teams. This is similar to the previous advice except that it expands greatly who you can see. This past week both Zach Wheeler (Mets) and Dylan Bundy (Orioles) pitched in televised games, and Bundy especially is well worth the 10 minutes to watch his two innings. You get a real feel for what makes an impact player.
The biggest thing is to just get excited for the season and don’t panic (do that later when you have a Kratz, Howard, Frandsen, Betancourt,M Young, Ruf, Martinez, D Young defensive line up later in Spring Training). If anyone has other tips to how to get the most out of Spring Training add it here.