Cockcroft: Spring Stats That Matter

Updated: March 21, 2007, 6:28 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com
For the most part, the best advice I could offer a fantasy owner regarding spring-training statistics is: Throw 'em all out. They don't count in your league standings, the good ones are often accrued in the early weeks of March, when games are littered with minor leaguers who won't sniff an inning of big-league play, and often, veteran players rack up disappointing numbers while experimenting with certain aspects of their games.

However, while the vast majority of spring-training statistics are outright useless, the numbers for a small handful of players do bear watching. To identify them, you need to look for numbers that skew radically from a player's career norm, or notable performances from lesser-known players in the hunt for key roles on the roster. For instance, when a typically wild pitcher shows a marked improvement in his walk/strikeout rates in the spring, or a hitter in the hunt for a starting job noticeably outperforms his primary competition, you could be looking at a potential draft-day bargain.

Listed below are 12 players whose exhibition-season statistics have caught my eye. Don't take the raw numbers to heart; it's the bargain potential they indicate that is of most interest.

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