Keep an eye on those “at bats”

Now that the Twins and everyone else have started their exhibition season, we fans once again have box scores to read so we can track how our favorite players are doing. We all know that what a hitter does in spring training games means very little in the grand scheme of things but the fact that a player is playing and getting at bats can mean a lot. The hitters need to shake off the rust and get their timing down. I don’t think it is so much how well the hitter is hitting as it is getting time in the batters box facing live pitching and getting at bats. I am not saying that you should not be concerned if a hitter goes 1 for 25 but at the same time you should not get too excited if a players hits 12 home runs in spring games either.

I think Gardy, the Twins and most of the other baseball teams have fallen into some bad habits over the last few years and maybe go too easy on the veteran players as far as getting their at bats in and have kind of left it up to the individual players to decide when they should play in these exhibition games. How often have you gone to a spring training game and find that the visiting team has only brought 2 or 3 regulars and one of them is probably a pitcher. This is an accepted practice now days and that is a bunch of crap in my humble opinion and it is not good for the fans or the players. Just because a player has been in the big leagues for a few years does not mean that he needs less at bats to get regular season ready. It all comes down to the fact that they don’t want to take those long bus rides, that is a bunch of hoey. Most of the games are within a couple of hours driving distance and yet todays players would rather stay back at camp than take that bus trip and get their 2 or 3 at bats in a game situation. If game situations are not that important, then why are exhibition games played at all, why don’t team just stay home save the money and play intra squad games? I have no problem with a player not playing if he is injured but at the same time that these guys are not playing they say they are healthy and working on preparing for the regular season. If you look back over the spring stats from the last few years you will see that the most at bats that a player usually will get during the spring is around 65 and most of the regular players average between 50-60 at bats in the spring games. Yes,  I know injuries come into play, but let’s take a look at what last years at bat counts were for the Twins regulars:

Mauer – appeared in 8 games and had 20 at bats (15 and 45 in 2010)

Morneau – appeared in 11 games and had 33 at bats (17 and 50 in 2010)

Nishioka – appeared in 20 games and had 58 at bats

Casilla – appeared in 22 games and had 50 at bats

Valencia – appeared in 24 games and had 65 at bats

Cuddyer – appeared in 8 games and had 21 at bats

Span – appeared in 21 games and had 62 at bats

Young – appeared in 18 games and had 48 at bats

Kubel – appeared in 22 games and had 53 at bats

I will be interested to watch the games this spring and see how many at bats the Twins starting line-up actually gets. If you want to follow the Twins spring stats, you can find them here.

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