Diamondbacks Spring Results Make Fans Nervous

While driving home I was listening to MLB Home Plate, channel 175 on XM radio. They had on as a guest the illustrious Bill James, the father of statistical analysis that is all the rage among teams these days.

One of the first questions the interviewer asked James was whether teams looked at or cared about a player’s Spring Training statistics or if they were as meaningless as they looked.

James with his dry sense of humor deadpanned that Spring Training statistics were the most important indicator not only of how successful a player would be this season but formed a basis to determine which players would have Hall of Fame careers.

This statement was met with a tremendous amount of laughter by both the announcers and James. He then went on to tell stories of bit players throughout the years who had monster numbers during Spring Training yet never made the team.

The point was Spring Training is an opportunity for hitters and pitchers to work on timing and try a few new adjustments before the games begin counting in April. This is an important thing to keep in mind especially during the first week of games each spring.

After the first four days and five games of the Cactus League season the Arizona Diamondbacks have won one game and that was a split squad affair with the Colorado Rockies.

To listen to the Diamondbacks front office and accounts of the games played so far you would think the team was undefeated and already hitting on all cylinders. We hear about how dominating the starting pitchers are at this point and how the once anemic offense is showing signs of maturing and perhaps dominating.

Fans then look at the standings and the box scores and see that the Diamondbacks pitching staff has given up 38 runs in five games. The team has scored 24 runs themselves but that number too is deceiving since the Diamondbacks have scored just one run in two of the five games.

In the stands fans are already beginning to mumble about how this is going to be a very long summer and there have been more than one comment suggesting changes need to be made to the roster, the coaching staff, and the ownership group.

It is times like this Diamondbacks fans would be wise to remember the first rule of scuba diving, “1. – Don’t forget to breathe”. The season is still almost a month away. Pitchers will calm down and none of the Spring Training statistics ever make it to the back of a player’s baseball card.

With four weeks of games remaining there is a lot of time for the hitters to get their timing together and for the pitchers to build arm strength and find the arm slot and pitch selection that will make them successful.

For now the only thing fans should be complaining about is the unusually large amount of rain Arizona is receiving this year and how it is affecting the usually cloud free skies. At the end of Cactus League action the best we should hope for is no injuries and a great sun tan.

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