VIERA, Fla. - Stats mean very little in spring. We know this.
Ask a player about his sub-par spring training numbers, you’re bound to get an eye-roll and a “C’mon, man!” type of look. On the flip side, what’s a .375 spring batting average get you? Unless you’re competing for a roster spot or a starting job, it’ll get you a whole lot of nothing, that’s what.
That said, it’s still interesting to take a look at what guys have accomplished more than a month into spring training games. Some of the information we’ll find could be telling of some trend or what might be to come in the regular season. Other stats can be discarded, but are interesting.
A few strikeout-to-walk ratios really jumped out at me when scanning the numbers last night: Ryan Mattheus has 13 spring strikeouts to just one walk, Craig Stammen has a 12-to-1 ratio and Tyler Clippard has notched 12 Ks to two walks himself.
Rafael Soriano has allowed opposing batters to hit a whopping .409 off him in five spring appearances. Fellow reliever Drew Storen isn’t much better; his batting average against is .341.
The Nationals have scored 126 runs this spring, tied for 23rd in the league. Their .404 slugging percentage also ranks 23rd.
Bryce Harper’s .400/.431/.673 slash line is still ridiculous.
Danny Espinosa leads the Nats with 15 spring strikeouts and he’s walked just twice, his on-base percentage is a solid .349. I think the Nats would gladly take that if it carried over to the regular season.
Adam LaRoche has five hits in 41 spring plate appearances. The guy’s a slow starter. He’ll readily admit it.
Denard Span has almost as many walks this spring (eight) as he does hits (10).
Gio Gonzalez has the lowest spring ERA of any Nationals starter, at 1.93. Who’s next? Chris Young, of all people, who has allowed four runs in 12 innings, good for a 3.00 ERA.
Both Dan Haren and Jordan Zimmermann have thrown the ball pretty well for much of spring, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at their numbers. Haren has a 6.05 ERA, Zimmermann a 5.49 ERA
Speaking of Young, the veteran right-hander can decide to opt out of his minor league contract with the Nationals today, if he so chooses.
Young has pitched well in his three Grapefruit League starts with the Nats, and one would think that there are a couple of teams out there that could use his services at the big league level. The Nationals are not one of those teams because of their full starting rotation, and while they would love it if Young was willing to play out the rest of spring here in Viera and accept an assignment to Triple-A Syracuse to begin the season, that seems unlikely. General manager Mike Rizzo has acknowledged as much.
As a Type XX(B) free agent, Young can opt out of his minor league deal March 24 and become a free agent if he feels he won’t make the Nationals’ 25-man roster. We’ll see if there’s anything on that front today.