Last spring, the Twins finished 18-15, which was good for 6th out of 15 teams in the Grapefruit League. Spring Training is interesting, because the results are the things we can grasp and understand, but they really have no bearing whatsoever on what will happen during the regular season. Toronto finished 24-7 last spring, but then went 73-89 in the regular season – placing them 4th in the AL East.
I know it has been 5 months since the club took the field, but make sure you don’t put too much stock in the results over the next 5 weeks. Here are a few interesting statistics from 2012 Spring Training:
Luke Hughes led the team in home runs with 6, while hitting .303 in 66 at bats. In 2011, Hughes also hit 6 homers in the spring to lead the team. For his career, however, he has 8 home runs in his major league career in over 300 at bats, while hitting just .218. As you know he didn’t even make it through the season last year, and was claimed off waivers by Oakland in April.
Interestingly enough, the second-leading home run hitter last spring was Danny Valencia, with 4. Valencia hit .293 that spring, went on to hit .198 for the Twins, lost his starting 3B job to Trevor Plouffe, found his way to AAA Rochester, and was eventually traded to Boston in August for Jeremias Pineda.
Aaron Bates hit .400, which was tops for Twins hitters with at least 20 at bats. He proceeded to play a month and a half for AAA Rochester, before getting released in the middle of May. He played first base and hit .238 in 103 plate appearances for Rochester before his release.
Matt Maloney had the best spring last year from a pitching standpoint. He made 9 appearances, pitched 15.1 innings, struck out 18, and finished with a 1.17 ERA. He survived just 11.0 innings for the Twins during the regular season, giving up 10 runs and striking out just 5 batters. From there he got rocked some more at AAA Rochester, and is no longer with the club.
Francisco Liriano also dominated last spring to the tune of a 2.33 ERA in 27.0 innings, walking only 5 batters and striking out 33. As we all remember too clearly, Liriano went on to go 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA in 100 innings for the Twins last year. At the trade deadline he was traded to the White Sox for Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Hernandez, and was not even re-signed by Chicago this winter.
The moral of the story here is not to dwell at all on the results this spring, as the Twins open up with Kevin Correia on the mound tomorrow. Use it as a time to see what some of the younger players and new players can do, get used to new names and numbers, and just enjoy the sights of a Florida winter – which is essentially the same thing as a Minnesota summer. Don’t get worked up if Darin Mastroianni hits .150 this spring, yet still wins the starting CF job over Aaron Hicks and Joe Benson. Don’t get carried away if Chris Herrmann goes off for 5 home runs in 30 at bats. Just enjoy the spring, hope that guys stay healthy, and let the position, rotation, and lineup battles sort themselves out over the next month. Go Twins!
Follow Twins Rubes on Twitter @twinsrubes.