Actual baseball games took place on Monday, albeit none of those games counted in the Spring Training standings but that’s besides the point.
Baseball season has begun. Even if it is just Spring Training games. The Blue Jays even held a intrasquad on Monday, Chris Colabello swung a hot bat and J.A Happ got roughed up in his one inning of work which in the big scheme of things doesn’t mean a damn thing.
What Monday’s game did do however was bring out the bandwagon fans and their lack of true knowledge or understanding of just what happens during Spring Training. With that having been said we have decided that it is time to give a Spring Training 101 to the new bandwagon fans that for the first time this spring most likely pay attention to the Blue Jays during Spring training. Really, what else are they going to want to watch? The Leafs tanking for the basement in the NHL standings?
First off, all the big names will not be playing in every game. Don’t be alarmed when Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson are only playing sparingly to start the Exhibition games. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has said the plan is to take things nice and slow when it comes to inserting the regulars into the line-up. Be prepared to watch players that are destined for the minor leagues, it will happen a lot, especially early in Spring Training.
The Blue Jays overall Spring Training record doesn’t mean jack squat. Most of the players are just getting their work in to prepare for the season and for most of the regulars their day will most likely only last a few at bats before they are out of the game and headed to the golf course. Same goes for a player’s performance during Spring Training, this is even more important when it comes to pitchers, There are some starts where a pitcher especially a starting pitcher will end up just throwing fastballs during his outing, or working on command or tinkering with their delivery or release point or arm slot, so don’t read too much into a pitchers outings during the spring. Don’t read too much into some of these lesser known players numbers during the spring either, the majority of their at bats are against pitchers who are likely destined for the minor leagues.
Don’t be alarmed when a starting pitcher doesn’t appear in many Spring Training games, With the glut of starting pitchers competing for the last spot in the rotation it means that there are some pitchers who will get their work in throwing a minor league game in a diamond buried in the back of the teams Spring Training complex. It’s also not uncommon at the end of the Spring to have them throw a minor league game to set their rotation spot.
When it comes to a relief pitcher don’t expect them to pitch where they normally would, this is a big one especially early in Spring, the team will have a schedule set up for the relievers to get their work in, and they stick to that regardless of the game situation, so if Roberto Osuna’s first appearance this spring is in the sixth inning of the first game don’t be surprised. Same if some pitcher destined for New Hampshire or Buffalo has their first appearance of the spring in the ninth inning of a one run game. It’s just the way the schedule worked out.
The last thing to remember is most of the players who will be everyday starters come into Spring ready to go and are in mid-season form fairly quickly into camp. Spring Training is more for the pitchers to get stretched out and ready and for the guys who are battling for a roster spot, and hey, if the Jays do happen to get blown out of a game this Spring just remember it doesn’t mean a thing.