As we’ve discussed, you always have to take Spring Training numbers with a grain of salt. You never know exactly what veterans are doing with their Spring time – maybe they’re working on particular pitches, focusing on defense, or working on taking pitches at the plate. Sure, when a guy is actively competing for a spot on the roster, then it’s fair to judge him by the numbers. But for veterans and guys who are locked into the roster, you read too much into statistics at your own peril.
That’s why you’ve read very little from me about Kosuke Fukudome’s rough Spring at the plate or Starlin Castro’s sparkling one. Neither is in a meaningful competition for playing time (yes, you could argue that Fukudome is competing with Tyler Colvin, but the truth is, at this point, Fukudome is going to get his at bats, and Colvin will get his), so there isn’t a whole lot of value in focusing on their numbers.
But, given that the two are expected to bat at the top of the order, I can understand the interest in how they’re doing at the plate this Spring. Specifically, folks are interested in whether Castro should be considered for the leadoff spot (the marketing department appears to think so, after comparing Castro to Derek Jeter in a recent campaign), and point to Fukudome’s .194 Spring average (and .324 OBP) and Castro’s .444 Spring average (and .459 OBP).
Manager Mike Quade, however, is unmoved. He has decided, despite the Spring numbers, to stick to his original plan of a Kosuke Fukudome/Jeff Baker platoon in the leadoff spot on most days, with Starlin Castro staying in the two-hole. For now, it’s the right decision.
Talk to me in late April if you think a change is appropriate – then we’ll have some real numbers to look at.