This is a sad excuse for a column. Why? Because I'm asking you, our readers and contributors, to think back and come up with information that I don't have.
What am I looking for? Bubble boys. Who are they? Players who were on the bubble (or worse - dreaming of being on the bubble) coming into spring training and ultimately made the Phillies' opening day roster.
We spend so much time during spring training thinking about that 5th outfielder or utility infielder or last reliever. But how do those decisions actually play out in the regular season? Which Phillies have made the team based on spring training performance? How have they done?
More generally, do spring training decisions based on one month of play against uneven competition pan out? Or is stocking your team based on March stats a worthless endeavor? If you know of guys who fit this category, please post below and tell how his season went after making the team. I'll start the discussion with my own bubble boy, "below the fold."
Eddie Oropesa is a classic bubble boy. If my memory serves me right, he came out of nowhere for the Phils in the spring of 2001. He had bounced around the minors since 1993, playing 2000 for the San Francisco AA club. He had a very good March and, as a Cuban exile finally making the big leagues, was the feel good story of the spring.
How'd he do coming north? Not so great. He pitched a total of 19 innings for the Phils over 5 months. He had a mediocre 4.74 ERA, but a terrible 1.74 WHIP. He walked almost a batter an inning. He was saved by a very low homerun rate of 0.47 per 9. (Remember, he was pitching at the Vet, not CBP, for half his games.) He left the Phillies after 2001 and had very unsuccessful stints with the Diamondbacks and Padres over the next three years. He appears done in the majors (playing last year in the independent leagues). His final major league ERA? 7.34.
So, how was this bubble boy in the final analysis? He definitely wasn't horrible for the Phils, but he wasn't good either. Strike one for March stats not being too meaningful.