It seems that the Cardinal fanbase has already made up their mind on a number of Cardinal players…
Spring training is a time for players to iron out the kinks in their game. Pitchers work on their control, while also trying to polish their stuff. They want the breaking stuff to have a bite and they want to command the fastball. Spring training is the time to work on these things, because that’s what it’s for.
The Cardinals could win every Spring Training game, and would that make a difference come October?
Cardinal Nation needs to be patient. Is it good to see a pitcher have a good outing? Absolutely… Do we want to see our AA catcher hit home runs? No brainer…
But it’s still Spring Training. There are multiple cases over the past few years of pitchers struggling during Spring Training, only to exceed expectations during the regular season for their team whether it be the Majors or Minors. The same could be said for those who did well in Spring only to falter during the regular season.
Tommy Pham had a breakout year last season where he had a .306/.411/.520 slash line and ended up being one of the best players in baseball. You might be surprised to know that his slash was only .209/.320/.279 during spring training in 2017.
Aledmys Diaz followed his 2016 season by batting .313/.333/.396 during the spring, only to lose the job to Paul DeJong during the regular season. On the other hand Paul had a sub-par Spring Training only to be a Rookie of the Year Candidate at the end of the regular season.
Luke Weaver had a 12.60 ERA during spring training last season. He ended up with a 2.55 ERA in AAA over 77.2 innings and a 3.88 ERA over 60.1 innings for the Cardinals. Talk about a difference…
Jedd Gyorko didn’t have a great spring with only a .191/.255/.404 slash, but was one of the best hitters for the Cardinals last season hitting 20 home runs with a .272/.341/.372 slash line on the year.
There are a number of guys struggling for the Cardinals so far this spring training, notably pitchers Miles Mikolas and Bud Norris to name a couple. I was one that was particularly high on Mikolas, and seeing him struggle hasn’t helped my case for him, but it is interesting how fans will complain about performance when it’s players they didn’t want. Most fans would agree that Marcell Ozuna was one of the best pickups this offseason in all of baseball. But did you know that he is only hitting .158 so far in Spring Training? Why aren’t more fans concerned with Ozuna’s lack of production so far, but are quick to condemn Mikolas and Norris for their struggles thus far?
We need to remember that Spring Training is designed to give these players an opportunity to work on their game. Until the regular season begins, I don’t care what the numbers say, because at the end of the day it doesn’t determine is makes the playoffs. If these struggles continue into the regular season, that’s when we should be concerned. But until then, I’m rooting for every player in the organization to succeed.
And you should too.
Thanks for reading.
Want to talk baseball? Feel free to e-mail me at Aaron.firstname.lastname@example.org!