Baseball is back!
Well, sort of. The Mariners are in uniform but playing ball under the spring skies of Arizona instead of occupying The Safe in the Sodo district.
Spring training is exciting. It gives fans a chance to see the stars of today as well as the stars of tomorrow taking the field together.
There is an air of fun as players are able to settle into one giant baseball community.
It is sports exactly the way your mom told you it should be, “It doesn’t matter who wins or loses as long as you’re having fun.”
But training is done for a purpose: to compete. And the way that you or your mom view spring training games is not how the manager and coaches are watching these games.
Can you see what they see?
Young players have limited playing time at the major league level and at times work so hard to impress that they make mistakes.
Take Jesus Montero for example. He shows strong confidence in the batter’s box but a lack of confidence when he is crouched behind it. It looks like all the negative press about his defensive capabilities is getting the best of him.
Hopefully his nerves will settle and he can simply react instead of over thinking every play. There also appears to be more patience in the approach at the plate.
A good example of this is Michael Saunders. It looks like he believes that he can be a major leaguer, and that is encouraging.
Pitchers are generally behind batters at the early point in the spring as they work to adjust their arm speed, grip, and release points so the ball does what they want it to.
As a result of these adjustments, they are more likely to leave a pitch over the plate and get punished for it.
Jason Vargas and Hector Noesi have each started with stellar appearances in their first starts of the spring. Throwing 4 innings is a lot different than throwing 7 or 8 so there is still a lot of work to be done.
Hishashi Iwakuma, on the other hand, has been less impressive. He pitched one inning and it took him 37 pitches to do so.
I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt as he has to adjust to a whole new culture, league and language, so maybe he deserves a break and for us to cut him just a little slack.
My deep thoughts ask myself though how many breaks do you give a guy before deciding on the 25 man roster?
That starting rotation is looking pretty shaky at the moment.
Eric Wedge is looking for guys that are willing to work outside of their comfort zone and provide the most value for the team as a whole.
Watch for how they react to being in an abnormal position as opposed to the actual fielding percentage.
Character goes a long way.