It’s spring training. Get a full perspective with new entries from the chipalatta team.
- Brian Todd: A trip to the voodoo priestess.
- Chip Bailey: Lots to watch as Astros’ hope springs eternal.
• •• ••• •• •
By Dan Peschong
Baseball fans would seem to be of two minds on Spring Training. Some think it is like a lecture on calculus on the day before Spring Break. Unnecessarily long and fairly pointless.
Others see Spring Training as a living symbol of the meaning of spring itself – an annual ritual, a renewal, an opportunity to bloom and dazzle.
So, just for fun I’m going to argue two sides of the same points about why the 2014 Astros Spring Training really matters and why it doesn’t.
It helps the young guys career growth to go to a major league camp
Pro – What is the down side to having Carlos Correa, Domingo Santana, Jonathan Singleton and Asher Wojciechowski in camp? Why wouldn’t you want these young studs practicing with the major leaguers, being coached by the major league coaches and playing against major league competition in the exhibition games? Wouldn’t all these things aid their development?
Con – These are not the days of the young guys learning next to players like Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Roger Clemens or Andy Pettitte. Really, how much are they going to learn from Scott Feldman (career ERA 4.62)? Do you really trust Jose Altuve to teach them fundamentals? And how many hitters improved under John Mallee last season vs. their minor league coaches?
Amazing performances in spring training can change everything
Pro – Remember the wonderful spring training of 1991, when a young gun named Bagwell, made it impossible to leave him off the roster. Bagwell had been traded at the trade deadline in 1990 for pitcher Larry Andersen and had never played above AA prior to going nuts in ST. The late Ken Caminiti blocked Bags at his normal 3rd base position – so he was taught first base in the last week or two of spring training and went on to become the Astros’ first and only Rookie of the Year.
Con – George Springer had a strong spring training in 2013. He had great stats at AA and AAA in 2013. He never got a September call-up and there are still whispers that he will be held in AAA until late June arrives. What miracle are we thinking is going to happen in spring training? That the Astros will finally let Springer onto the big club prior to him hitting 25 years of age?
Spring training is where a number of position battles will be resolved
Pro – It will be fascinating to see who are the starters in the outfield between Springer, Dexter Fowler, L.J. Hoes and Robbie Grossman. Who will take the 4th and 5th starter spots from among Jerome Williams, Brad Peacock, Paul Clemens, Asher Wojciechowski, Anthony Bass and Dallas Keuchel? Closer, set-up men, first base, DH – all to be run to ground during the ST.
Cons – Sure, there are position battles going on – but let’s face facts this is like figuring out who the new crew will be for the Titanic as it is sinking. Few if any of these folks matter or will be with the team when they finally become relevant.
So, it is your turn – where do you come down relative to the usefulness of spring training?