Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Marvel at these mind-boggling spring stat lines

Amid the chaos of exhibition games, these numbers were hard to ignore
MLB.com

It almost goes without saying, but in case one needs a reminder that Spring Training statistics should almost never be taken seriously, consider a recent story veteran reporter Bob Dutton passed along about a start Zack Greinke once made for the Royals.

It almost goes without saying, but in case one needs a reminder that Spring Training statistics should almost never be taken seriously, consider a recent story veteran reporter Bob Dutton passed along about a start Zack Greinke once made for the Royals.

Tweet from @ByBobDutton: Not excited. More like satisfied. I was there. Greinke had disagreed with pitching coach Guy Hansen���s assertion that location was far more important than velocity. So he located BP fastballs against the Brewers and got pounded. Zack���s first words: ���I guess velocity matters.��� https://t.co/lsQANv9d97

Players often use Spring Training games as experimental grounds (though perhaps not in an extreme a manner as the one-of-a-kind Greinke), and it's where new pitches and new swings are tested. But with all the obvious caveats baked in, now is the time to peruse MLB.com's statistics page and marvel at the stat lines that truly boggle the mind. Here are a few that stand out (all statistics through Monday's games):

Video: MLB Tonight looks at quirky Spring Training stats

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: 0.00 ERA over 21 1/3 innings
Kershaw's mound intensity was already revered across the game, but the Dodgers' ace brought Spring Training determination to a new level. Kershaw's fastball velocity was still hovering at just 90 mph in his final spring start against the Royals, which is a scary thought for National League hitters. Kershaw also appears excited about the stability of his back entering the regular season, so perhaps this is one spring performance we can glean something from heading into Opening Day.

Aroldis Chapman, Yankees: 10 of 13 outs recorded via strikeout
Chapman owns three of the top 10 strikeout-rate seasons on record and has hit 105 mph on the radar gun, so it's not surprising to see him rack up the strikeouts. Still, any time a pitcher is striking out half the batters he's seen (as Chapman has against his 20 opponents this spring) is worth pointing out, and Chapman looks to be back at full strength after an up-and-down 2017.

Video: NYM@NYY: Chapman whiffs Flores swinging in the 3rd

Daniel Vogelbach, Mariners: .900 SLG, 13 of 20 hits for extra bases
Entering this spring, the prodigious power that marked Vogelbach's prospect profile was noticeably absent in his Major League sample; he had recorded just one extra-base hit in 40 at-bats. Well, that power came back for Seattle's No. 11 prospect, as Vogelbach's .900 slugging percentage led all qualified big leaguers by a wide margin with one day of action remaining. Vogelbach's 64 plate appearances included those 13 extra-base hits, 13 walks and 10 strikeouts, meaning Joey Gallo and Aaron Judge could have a new Three True Outcomes companion soon enough.

Video: SEA@CWS: Vogelbach crushes his sixth homer of spring

Reid Brignac, Nationals: .179/.467/.179, 15 walks in 45 plate appearances
Kudos to Cut4's Michael Clair for first pointing out the impressive discipline of Brignac, who was on track to walk away with the Spring Training walk title despite being released by the Nationals this past weekend. Brignac was unable to draw a walk in any of his 29 most recent Major League plate appearances with the Braves in 2016, so perhaps he can tout an improved batter's eye as he searches for his next club.

Willie Calhoun, Rangers: One strikeout in 37 at-bats
The Rangers' No. 2 prospect, Calhoun possesses excellent bat speed and power. But Calhoun is not a typical swing-and-miss prospect; he kept his strikeout rate to 11.5 percent across Double-A and Triple-A ball over the past two seasons (the MLB average strikeout rate was 21.6 percent last year). So while discipline is nothing new for Calhoun, such a performance against a good chunk of Major League pitching should only raise expectations as he begins the season at Triple-A Round Rock.

Honorable mention goes to Royals shortstop prospect Humberto Arteaga (one strikeout in 35 at-bats) and Mike Trout, who rolled through his first 44 plate appearances before finally striking out against Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu last week.

Roman Quinn, Phillies: Nine steals out of 17 times on base
This year's Spring Training stolen-base title will likely go to a player who had only appeared in 137 Minor League games combined over the past two seasons. Injuries have troubled Quinn (the Phillies' No. 17 prospect) in recent times, but he is one of just four prospects on any of MLB Pipeline's team Top 30 lists to receive an 80 grade on the 20-80 scale for running. Quinn has posted four Minor League seasons with 30-plus steals through injuries to his legs and core, and the outfielder's frenetic spring suggests his elite speed hasn't gone anywhere.

Video: TB@PHI: Quinn swipes second base in the 3rd inning

Estevan Florial, Yankees: Three triples out of seven hits
"Athletic" is a word often used to describe Florial, and though he still has room to cut down on his strikeouts (12 in 32 at-bats this spring), the Yankees' No. 2 prospect showed a handful of brilliant flashes in the Grapefruit League. MLB Pipeline grades Florial at 70 on the 20-80 scale for running and a 55 for power, and he made it clear this spring that he can show off both against big league pitchers.

Jakob Junis, Royals: 20 strikeouts and one walk
Junis was a highlight of the Royals' 2017 campaign, going 9-3 and rounding into form down the stretch of his rookie season. But a 20-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio marks a new level of dominance for the young righty, who recorded a more mortal 3.2-to-1 ratio for Kansas City last year. Junis' otherworldly strike-zone command (along with his 1.88 spring ERA) might not be sustainable, but it does signal another step forward for a pitcher who was ranked outside MLB Pipeline's Top 30 prospects list for the Royals entering last season.

Video: KC@SF: Junis K's Blanco swinging in the 1st inning

Chris Volstad, White Sox: 4.6 pitches per inning
Volstad was nearly perfect in eight spring appearances, permitting just three hits and one walk over 14 scoreless innings. Scoreless springs are nothing new, but Volstad's ruthless efficiency is worth highlighting. The righty recorded groundouts from nearly half the hitters he faced, submitting about the strongest case possible for the Opening Day roster before he was ultimately sent back down to Triple-A Charlotte.

Ryan Schimpf, Rays/Braves: .000/.143/.000, 19 strikeouts in 30 at-bats
Schimpf's career has been a case of extremes to this point (16 of his 26 hits for the Padres went for extra bases last year, and he also walked or struck out in nearly 50 percent of his plate appearances), and his slash line this spring was no exception. The infielder will get a chance to redeem himself as he begins the season with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.