Every year, Spring Training serves as a valuable tool to catch a glimpse of Boston Red Sox players, prospects and depth players as they prep for the 2016 season. But how much emphasis can really be put on their numbers they put up in the spring? Not much.
Remember back in 2013 when Jackie Bradley Jr. hit .419 with a .507 on-base percentage in 28 Spring Training games? Many were calling for him to crack the big league club albeit he hit .271 in double-A the year before. And it really screwed up his development as a ballplayer.
By that same token, remember when David Ortiz hit .054 in Spring Training back in 2014? How did that work out for him? Great, he hit 35 home runs for the first time since 2007 and did so in less at-bats than he had that year.
Jake Fox never played for the Red Sox, but he led all of baseball with 10 Spring Training home runs in 2011. He was designated for assignment on June 1 by his Baltimore Orioles that season.
Players do not always necessarily treat these spring training games like real games. The games serve as an opportunity to see live pitching or to face live hitters. It really gives players a chance to work on whatever they want and to get back in the swing of things for the regular season.
If any Spring Training stats are considered at all, then these should be the ones later on in March — closer to when the season actually starts. But even those are not always a great indication either.
This is why position battles in the spring can be puzzling because realistically, it will not always be the guy with the better spring stats — nor should it be.
Right now, the Red Sox are 3-2 in Grapefruit League action — not that it really means much.