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Please don't take what happens in spring training too seriously

Sunday's Say Hey, Baseball, is imploring you to not look too deeply into spring training statistics. Also, Vlad Guerrero has made his cap choice for what he feels is his eventual induction into the Hall of Fame.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

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This week, the calendar is set to turn from the bleak month of February to the hopeful month of March, which means that spring training games are set to start. We're always excited about the prospect of pitchers and catchers reporting to camp in mid-February, but this is when the real excitement begins to bubble over. Yeah, it's fun to see the familiar faces taking batting practices and doing various exercises, but now we're talking about actual games being played. They may not count, and surely we'll end up with situations where the TV crew will give up and just say that the pinch runner on third base is named "Minor League Guy," but we're still excited, because baseball is happening and Opening Day is right around the corner.

All of that was said to come to this particular point. Every year, it's always tempting to judge how a player is going to fare in the upcoming season by taking a look at his spring training stats and thinking "Hey, this guy's been murdering the ball this spring. Surely this will translate into the regular season," or "Wow, my man has been out here getting shelled by opposition hitting. It's looking bleak for this particular pitcher!" I'm asking you right now to please refrain from that. Sure, it might be a telling sign for some players, but for the vast majority, spring training statistics really don't matter all that much.

With that in mind, I'm guessing that we probably won't see another team repeat the mistake that the Blue Jays made in 2004. Career minor leaguer Simon Pond came out of the spring training gates firing on all cylinders and played so well that he ended up making the major league team to start the season. In fact, in order to make room for him, the Blue Jays traded an inexperienced youngster to the Dodgers. The youngster was Jayson Werth, who finished the season with 2.4 fWAR over 89 games in 2004. Meanwhile, Pond played all of 16 games in 2004 and ended up right back in the minor leagues. Pond's story is an intriguing one (which you should read about), but it's also one of the many cautionary tales of reading too much into spring training stats. It's tempting, but don't do it, folks.


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