There has never been a proven statistical correlation between spring training and regular season performances of players or teams.
That doesn’t mean players who are poised for breakout seasons won’t show you early indications or an aging veteran won’t show signs of decline or a young prospect can’t make an impact in spring training’s six-week period. Managers and general managers historically make more mistakes with spring training evaluations than at any other time of year because of the spectrum of competition in camp, ranging from Class A to the big leagues, all playing in games together.
Statistics are one way to look at players, but scouting evaluations and the naked eye will often tell you more. Here are some of my evaluations of several spring training studs and duds. Depending on which list he’s on, 2012 might spell either boom or doom for these eight players.
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Hosmer put together an impressive rookie season last year, batting .293 with 19 home runs. However, based on what I saw this spring, Hosmer isn’t just another talented first baseman. This player is special. He is an elite first baseman who clearly fits in the same talent category as first basemen such as Adrian Gonzalez and Joey Votto. From what I saw this spring, Hosmer’s bat speed, barrel awareness, use of the all fields, pitch recognition and swing path are very similar to Votto and Gonzalez. Likewise, he’s also a plus defender. Hosmer’s not Albert Pujols, but putting up Pujols-type numbers in a couple years is a distinct possibility.
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