clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

It’s Spring Training Overreaction Time!

How excited or worried should we be about these early performances?

Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

How much stock should we put in Spring Training numbers? The answer, unfortunately for fans of undefeated Grapefruit League teams, is very little. The sample sizes are far too small and the quality of competition is far too inconsistent to draw any meaningful conclusions.

But being prudent and cautious is no fun. What is fun, is overreacting! So let’s take a look at six players, three of whom have performed excellently so far, and three who have disappointed. Should we be excited about Raimel Tapia? Worried about Nick Pivetta? The answer to both questions is probably no, but let’s dig into the numbers anyway.

Three Guys To Maybe Get Excited About

Bobby Dalbec

6-17, 1 HR, 3 2B, 2 BB, 6, K

Boston Red Sox Spring Training Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Should we be excited?

Sorry, but no, we should not be remotely excited. Dalbec hit .333 with 3 homers last spring. The year before, he mashed an absurd 7 homers down in Florida. Maybe he’s really into fried grouper, strip malls, and golf — or maybe it’s just the substandard pitching — but either way, this dude clearly loves playing in Florida.

Raimel Tapia

7-17, 1 HR, 5 2B, 0 BB, 3 K

Should we be excited?

Tapia is a free swinger who makes a ton of contact and tries to hit ‘em where they ain’t. That’s a perfect profile for impressing in small sample sizes — especially when he flashes some power in there. But this is a guy whose career highs in homers and doubles are 9 and 26, respectively. So in other words: no, that power is not sustainable. He’s a good little player who could have some fun moments for the 2023 Red Sox, but don’t go buying his shirsey just yet.

Triston Casas

8-18, 2 HR, 1 2B, 2 BB, 4 K

Should we be excited?

Throughout his minor league development, Casas has excelled in all but one area. He’s never really shown a consistent ability to hit lefties. In fact, coming into this Spring Training, his last homer off a lefty came all the way back in May 2021. So it was a really good sign when his first homer of the spring came off Marlins lefty Dax Fulton, and it was an even better sign when he did it again three days later against Brent Headrick of the Twins. Neither Fulton nor Headrick have advanced past AA yet, so Casas still has a lot of work to do to show that he can hit lefties in the big leagues. But then again, he wasn’t hitting lefties in AA, either. So go ahead: get excited.

Three Guys To Maybe Worry About

Justin Turner

3-12, 0 XBH, 1 BB, 1 K

Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Should we be worried?

Justin Turner made his MLB debut three Presidents and two Popes ago. He’s played in 86 career postseason games. When a guy reaches that point in his career, Spring Training is nothing more than a leisurely nuisance. It’s quite possible that Justin Turner is washed, because he’s 38-years-old and was awful for half the season last year. But these numbers don’t tell us anything either way. Nothing to worry about here yet.

Nick Pivetta

3.2 IP, 6 K, 8 H, 4 BB, 1 HR, 5 ER

Should we be worried?

Pivetta — who, despite looking like the odd man out of the rotation at the start of spring, now looks to very much have a spot — has not looked good in two starts thus far. But there are caveats aplenty. First, there was the nasty bout with COVID that delayed his throwing program and is possibly still affecting his physical capabilities. And second, there’s the fact that he apparently spent the offseason developing a new, flatter, harder curveball, which is only just now being put to the test. Nick Pivetta may end up having a mediocre year, because he’s Nick Pivetta, but don’t read anything into these numbers.

Adam Duvall

0-11, 6 K, 3 BB

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Should we be worried?

Yikes. That line is ugly. Would it make you feel better if I told you that Adam Duvall has gone hitless in 11 or more at-bats 9 different times throughout his career? If not, consider the fact that Mike Trout’s done it 7 times.

Baseball is weird and hard and even the best players of all-time go through rough stretches like the one Duvall is mired in. Having said that, it’s possible that we should be a little worried about this one. As I’ve documented before, Duvall is recovering from surgery on a torn tendon sheath in his wrist. Mark Teixeira, Jose Bautista, Nick Johnson, and David Ortiz all underwent the same procedure, and they all took a relatively long time to recover their power. Duvall isn’t just supposed to the be the starting center fielder on this team, he’s supposed to be the right-handed power bat that was missing from last year’s lineup. If the surgery has sapped his power, that could spell trouble for the Sox offense.