Unofficially, the White Sox's spring baseball schedule kicked off with an intrasquad game, and Scott Merkin has a few highlights from the scorecard:
- Second baseman Micah Johnson finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two steals.
- Outfielder Trayce Thompson hit a home run and a single.
- Shortstop Tim Anderson went 2-for-3, with two RBIs.
- Outfielder (sic) Conor Gillaspie hit two triples.
The White Sox offered video proof for that last bullet.
We put a GoPro on Daryl Boston today and let him do his thing. Check out this Conor Gillaspie triple: pic.twitter.com/EExcfCY4hp— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 4, 2015
Gillaspie's triples drew some laughs on Twitter, but he's no stranger to that column. He's hit eight three-baggers in his career, including five last season. The weird part is that he's hit eight triples, and yet he's still in search of his first stolen base (he's 0-for-5).
According to Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index, Gillaspie's the first player since the 1970s to accumulate at least 800 plate appearances and eight triples over his first five seasons and not steal one base. So, I guess you know that now.
Anywhoozle, the bad news for all those players? Those stats don't count in the spring training record books.
The good news? Spring training stats don't count for anything, either.
We go over this every year, but it's always good to refresh the memory on that, especially when there's an open competition for a starting job. Granted, the stats could reflect the difference in the quality of at-bats or innings pitched, but between the desert air, inconsistent quality of opponents, and (above all) small sample size, numbers alone won't mean much.
The only number I take into account at the end of spring training is walks by pitchers -- especially those who need to show some mettle to Don Cooper. That doesn't mean a pitcher will keep his control once the season starts, as you'll see below, but a good first impression might change the pecking order in the minors when the Sox come calling. For instance, Zach Putnam's breakout season in Chicago started with an April promotion following a strike-throwing spring.
Beyond that, here are five spring training lines from last year's Cactus League season that turned out to be filthy liars.
Nobody should pay attention to the spring-training performance of a shortstop who plays 158 games every year. I doubt many did, but for the few who are prone to panic, Ramirez provided comfort in short order.
Garcia's a different case. It was his first spring training in a White Sox uniform, and his first as a presumptive starter, and his control of the strike zone left a lot to be desired. Then he went and matched his walk total in one week and pulled a couple of home runs, which made that shoulder injury all the more devastating.
Webb didn't walk a single batter during the spring, and he didn't throw a wild pitch, either. He went on to lead the White Sox bullpen in both categories, and by a large margin. Hell, his 13 wild pitches not only led the entire staff, but it was good for fifth in the American League. The other nine pitchers in the top 10 averaged 197 innings, mind you.
The subject of the annual service-time debate, Davidson stoked the fire with an impressive spring training, then extinguished it emphatically with a year-long disaster in Charlotte. The disparity, and the emotional turmoil surrounding it, sets up a somewhat interesting hypothetical scenario -- if Davidson started the year in Chicago, would the dominoes have toppled differently? -- but there looks like even less room on the Opening Day roster for him this time around. He's going to have to show it in Charlotte.