Spring Training statistics are a weird stew resulting from stirring together major league players with minor leaguers from various levels, players fighting for their professional lives and others who are working on mechanics, trying to get their timing down, or just trying to get into game shape. And all of it in absurdly small samples of a few innings or 50-some plate appearances.
As one might expect then, the list of past Phillies spring training hitting stars is littered with guys who only shone brightest under Florida’s March sun:
Brock Stassi (1.013 OPS in 2017)
Cameron Rupp (1.139 in 2016)
Brian Bogusevic (.944 in 2015)
Reid Brignac (.974 in 2014)
Yuniesky Betancourt (1.025 in 2013)
Michael Martinez (.916 in 2012)|
Ben Francisco (1.106 in 2011)
Eric Bruntlett (1.005 in 2009)
Greg Dobbs (1.077 in 2007)
Ron Calloway (1.003 in 2007)
Chris Coste (1.305 in 2006)
So obviously Spring Training stats should be taken with a large grain of salt. But that being said, let’s take a quick look at the final Spring stats before they’re quickly forgotten.
Cacti and Grapefruits
First, at a league level, as typically happens there was more offense in the Arizona desert than in Florida:
Cactus League........ .272/.339/.460 (.800 OPS), and 5.45 runs per game
Grapefruit League... .257/.325/.420 (.745 OPS), and 4.73 runs per game
That’s 15% more scoring in Arizona, resulting from a) a 6% higher batting average, and b) 22% more home runs per PA.
Team Rankings - Hitting
The Phillies’ offense finished the Spring 27th in MLB in scoring (4.36 runs per game), and 26th in batting average, OBP, and OPS.
Their slugging percentage was a bit better (20th), thanks to a HR/PA rate that was 13th highest in MLB.
However these overall numbers mask both how awful they were at the start of ST, and how they rebounded down the stretch:
First 19 games*: .223/.290/.367 (.657 OPS), ranking 30th, 30th, 29th, and 30th respectively Final 14 games: .281/.345/.488 (.832 OPS), ranking 7th, 6th, 4th, and 4th.
*Why 19? Only because that’s when I happened to take a snapshot of the stats.
As one would expect, their run scoring also got much better:
Fist 19 games: 3.89 per game (30th)
Final 14 games: 5.00 per game (15th)
Those final two weeks look even better when focusing on the lower-offense Grapefruit League:
Among the Florida teams, in their final 14 games the Phils ranked 3rd in average, 2nd in OBP, SLG, and OPS, and they tied the Pirates for most HRs per PA.
Reference: Team hitting stats
Team Rankings - Pitching
On the pitching side, the Phils were among the leaders the entire Spring, finishing 6th out of 30 in ERA, 7th in OPS against, and 4th in K/BB ratio.
Those rankings look better than they are because of the lower scoring in Florida. Among just the Grapefruit League teams, they still ranked 6th in ERA, and 7th in OPS, and only inched to 3rd best in K/BB ratio.
Reference: Team pitching stats
Phillies Hitting Stats
Below are the Phils’ leades in OPS, also showing the split between the first 19 and final 14 games (just to slice that small sample even smaller). The far right column shows the change in OPS:
Hopefully (and most likely) it won’t be Scott Kingery who will make a future version of the list that started this post. And while we’re at it let’s hope the same for Jesmuel Valentin.
Kingery started very hot, and managed to sustain it for this short stretch.
Rhys Hoskins started hot, and then got even hotter.
Valentin hit well all Spring, but it wasn’t quite enough — hopefully we’ll see him again soon.
Aaron Altherr really came on strong at the end.
And, of course, so did Maikel Franco.
Reference: Phillies hitters
Reference: Phillies pitchers