The media loves to make lots of noise about Spring Training. From hyping up the Dodgers’ position battles to determining who will break out based on an inflated Spring batting average, everyone loves to read into Arizona and Grapefruit League statistics.
The reality is that the sample size really is too small to make statistical judgments on the Dodgers as far as predicting regular season performance based on Spring Training numbers. However, there are some takeaways that can be had based on these numbers, even if they are somewhat less significant than some people want to believe they are.
In this article, I’ll look into the intangibles of Spring Training, and also into how some non-production stats demonstrate the intentions of Dodger front office personnel and management in general. The number I really want to get into is playing time.
Generally speaking, if you look at the playing time leaderboards for Spring Training, you can tell which players are being given longer looks and which players are either too far off from making the 25-man roster or whose spots on the 25-man are already too solid to justify wasting at-bats on these players. Injuries also play an important role in Spring playing time.
As far as this statistic (if you can even call it that) goes, it is best to look not at games played, but at innings pitched for pitchers and more specifically batters faced, and also into plate appearances and at-bats for hitters. I’ll split this article into hitters and pitchers.