Archive for the ‘Spring Training’ Category

One of the interesting things about spring training is the old statement that spring numbers do not matter. We are told to not use spring statistics as a measure of success in the regular season. I can partially buy into that statement. But, why is it that position battles are won or lost based on how each of the players perform in spring game action against lesser talent.

Sometimes the players who are competing are not locked in a competition that is an entirely equal playing field . For example, one player may be facing David Price in game action and does not get his hits off of him. Where as, another batter may face the guy who is a minor league pitcher and takes him deep. How can you compare performance between the two.

Additionally, with spring there is a small sample size. Thus, the correction factor that a batter makes over the course of the season does not come into play much in the spring. So, the guy who is hot right from the start may not be the best suited player for the position over the long season. In other words, the team who has a player who makes adjustemnts to get out of a cold streak might be better overall than the player who temporarily is experiencing success.

The astute General Manager will base his player evaluation only partially on spring data. They must also factor in if a player is dealing with an injury, or if the player is experimenting with something new that he would rarely try in regular season.

One study to take a  look at is the the work of baseball statistician John Dewan  who found that batters who post significantly better slugging percentages in spring training than their career slugging percentages perform better offensively in the upcoming regular season.

Nevertheless, do we make conclusions based on what we have seen from Andy Sonnanstine so far? What about spring numbers Sean Rodriguez put up last year?

Advertisements : “Think about it, $ 40 could get you Evan Longoria, David Price, Rays Manager Joe Maddon, plus possibly get autographs from newly signed Rays players Manny Ramirez, Dirk Hayhurst and Johnny Damon. More than worth the one time expenditure.” :”FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal will take any and all baseball questions from fans from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Ken is the senior baseball writer from He appears weekly on MLB on FOX.”

Put a face and a voice to The Heater’s Mark Topkin with a spring training video from Port Charlotte.  Topkin mentions how David Price says he wants to be more than just the best pitcher in his league, but in all of major league baseball. 

 I am the greatest!!!


Joaquin Benoit signed one of the most controversial free agent contracts of the offseason paying him $5.5 for each of the next three years. Benoit gives the Tigers another fireballer in the bullpen and a potential setup man but the contract is in question based not last year’s amazing statistics that Benoit put up but prior years. In total Benoit carries a 31-28 record with a 4.47 ERA and 1.349 WHIP.

(Examiner) : Rays ready to defend East title with new faces – Tampa Bay Sports

For the ladies the day is tied to romance and affection and the guys will get their boxes of candy, a bunch of flowers and a card for their sweetheart. They guys are looking for something else, not wrapped in a bow but it is just as sweet. It’s called “Pitchers and Catchers.”

(Yahoo )

What Friedman has done in such circumstances, however, merits annual mention. He’s always thinking, always maneuvering, always doing something, because the moment he doesn’t, the Rays will sink back to the morass in which they were trapped for a decade.


The combustible Kyle Farnsworth has the inside track for save chances. Joel Peralta and promising lefty Jake McGee are potential setup men. The only holdover is long man Andy Sonnanstine. But there is a chance Lance Cormier returns, and J.P. Howell, who missed all of last season following shoulder surgery, is expected to be ready in May.

Cubbie Town

Even Garza, who threw a no-hitter during the Tampa Bay Rays’ AL East championship run last season, raised eyebrows with his 1-3, 6.75 ERA finish in his last five starts of 2010.

I really thought one of these guys would go claimed. But, Leslie Anderson and Justin Ruggiano punched their tickets to AAA when they went unclaimed.

The Spring training roster will look a tad different this year. Where did I read that the 40 man roster is 45% different than when the season ended.

The Rays Spring Training roster as we know today:

C 28 J. Jaso 1o K. Shoppach 38 R. Chirnos 31 J. Lobaton 41 N. Ashley 65 C. Albernaz 60 S. Vogt
1B 29 D. Johnson 23 Kotchman L. Anderson 61 R. Cranzler
2B 1 S. Rodriguez 9 E. Johnson 67 D. Mayora

SS 15 R. Brignac 45 F. Lopez 16 R. Olmedo 64 T. Beckham
3B 3 E. Longoria 26 J.J. Furmaniak

LF 22 J. Damon 8 D. Jennings

CF 2 B.J. Upton 27 S. Fuld 30 B. Guyer

RF 18 B. Zobrist 66 C. Carter J. Ruggiano

DH 24 M. Ramirez 20 M. Joyce

SP 14 D. Price  

A. Leary 76 R. Orta
SP 33 J. Shields
C. Figueora 75 J. Bayliss
SP 34 J. Niemann
72 R. De los Santos 71 B. Baker
SP 40 W. Davis
53 A. Cobb

SP 58 J. Hellickson
49 D. De La Rosa

RP 43 K. Farnsworth 54 M. Eckstrom 56 A. Torres

RP 36 A. Russell 47 B. Gomes 44 M. Bush

RP 62 J. Peralta 59 C. Cabral
50 A. Suarez 

RP 69 R. Delaney 35 C. Archer R.J. Swindle

RP 21 A. Sonnanstine 73 D. Hayhurst 55 C. Ramos

RP 57 J. McGee 37 J. Cruz

DL 39 J.P. Howell 74 C. Wade

I make my annual trip to Tampa at the end of this month. I will get to catch the Rays in some game action when they visit Bradenton to play the Pirates for the second spring game of the year.

Here are some bullet points as we head into the 2011 season:

Q1: What will Joe Maddon try to accomplish this spring training ?

In Joe Maddon‘s first year without Carl Crawford in the everyday lineup, the main thing he will try to do is integrate veterans Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon with the existing group of young players. The clubhouse dynamic over the course of the season will be a work in progress, and Maddon will sure hopes these  veteran players can be counted on for leadership.

Q2: What is the most compelling spring training competition?

The biggest competition going into camp is for the job of closer. It would appear  Kyle Farnsworth has the edge for the position. However, Jake McGee and Adam Russell will battle to state their claim on the role since their is no clearcut favorite.

Q3: What is the most likely Opening Day lineup?

left field; Johnny Damon, right field; Ben Zobrist, third base: Evan Longoria designated hitter; Manny Ramirez, first base; Dan Johnson, center fielder; B.J. Upton, second base; Sean Rodriguez, catcher; John Jaso, shortstop; Reid Brignac.

The Rays Spring Training roster as we know today:


C Jsao Shoppach R. Chirnos Lobaton Ashley Albernaz Vogt
1B D. Johnson Kotchman L. Anderson R. Cranzler
2B S. Rodriguez E. Johnson Mayora

SS Brignac F. Lopez Olmedo

3B Longoria

LF J. Damon Jennings

CF B.J. Upton Fuld Guyer

RF Zobrist C. Carter Ruggiano

DH M. Ramirez Joyce

SP D. Price  

A. Leary R. Orta
SP J. Shields
C. Figueora J. Bayliss
SP Niemann
Richar De los Santos B. Baker
SP W. Davis

SP Hellickson
Dane De La Rosa

RP Farnsworth Eckstrom Torres

RP Russell B. Gomes Bush

RP Peralta Cabral

RP Delaney Archer R.J. Swindle

RP Sonnanstine Hayhurst

RP J. McGee Cruz

DL J.P. Howell Wade

The Bulls Have Players

Posted: January 26, 2011 in Free Agent, Spring Training

On what might be the first wave of minor league invites, the Rays have invited a few players to Spring Training.  Among the group is Tim Beckham, the first round selection from the “Buster Posey” draft.

The list of other free agent invites includes:

  • Rickey Orta – a former fourth round pick who the Rays picked up last year as  an  he began the battle back from Tommy John surgery.
  • Craig Albernaz – a catcher who was invited to spring training last season, and played for the Bulls in the AAA playoffs.
  • Stephen Vogt – a catcher who repeated at Charlotte last season, and won the FSL batting title
  • Brian Baker – An un-drafted pitcher that has been through the Rays system, last year pitching for the Bulls.

“From the Archives”, an article I wrote a few years back demonstrating some of the outstanding offensive numbers by Manny Ramirez.

Pitchers and Catchers 2011

Posted: January 25, 2011 in Spring Training

With the players slowly making their way down to Florida, it won’t be long before the Rays Grapefruit league gets underway. The Rays pitchers and catchers report on Feburary 15th with the first official workout the following day. The Rays Spring Training home is Charlotte County Sports Park in Port Charlotte.

The position players report a few days later on Feburary 20th, with the first workout the following day. I can tell you first hand that this is a nice park to take in a game or view a workout.

The first game official game of the spring is vs Pirates on February 26th.


Play Ball!