Mar 3, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcherBrandon Workman
(67) gets taken out by managerJohn Farrell
(53) during the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
When one’s team starts out 1-5, panicking is often one’s first inclination. The Red Sox have started out this spring 1-5, but panicking should certainly not be one’s first inclination for a number of reasons. First and foremost, spring training doesn’t matter at all from a win-loss perspective. Secondly, we are not even to the point where spring training matters from a player development standpoint. Thirdly, did I get around to the fact that spring training doesn’t matter?
It has been proven again and again that spring training results have little to no bearing on regular season results. The most recent example of that notion is Jackie Bradley Jr. Last season, Bradley Jr. set the world on fire with an excellent spring training that saw him hit .419/.507/.613 in 72 plate appearances in his first spring. However, when Bradley Jr. impressed John Farrell and co. enough to earn a promotion and start the season with the big club, he followed his spring training performance with a 3-31 performance before being demoted back to Triple-A (where he had a great year).
It’s easy to brush aside the small sample size statistics of players that one has never heard of before, but when one’s favorite player struggles early in spring it’s a bit disheartening. However, everybody and anybody can do poorly in a small sample size and this spring certainly has a myriad of them. The team leader in innings pitched is Dalier Hinojosa, who has thrown all of four innings, and the leader in plate appearances is Bryce Brentz, with a full 12 trips to the plate.
When it boils down to it, spring training baseball is just that: baseball. It’s best to not get caught up in the negatives or the positives (although it’s pretty nice to see Xander Bogaerts hit an absolute shot to left like he did yesterday), because chances are that those negatives and positives aren’t significant of anything. I’m sure that the Red Sox will get straightened out and have a decent spring, but even if they don’t, it won’t carry into the season.