Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Training Impact

Spring Training is in full effect and some players are battling for utility roles on the MLB opening day roster.  My opinion however is that most teams already have chosen their 25 players but aren't going to make any official announcements to keep the players "competing".  Even if Bryce Harper hits 7 HR in spring training, do you really think that the Nationals will let him travel north where his arbitration clock starts ticking away a full year earlier than if they wait until mid June? 

The reason I ask this is because the best hitters in the Pirates lineup through 6 games has been Starling Marte (ranked 40th overall prospect in baseball).  Marte had 8 consecutive at bats with a hit.  He's leading the Grapefruit league in batting average (.692) tied for first in HR (2) and has 1 SB in only 13 plate appearances. 

Granted it's a very small sample size, but should the Pirates bring Marte up because he battled to make the opening day roster?  Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen are practically guaranteed to be traveling north with the Pirates with their 6 year contract extensions.  Alex Presley proved last season that he deserves to be the everyday starter in left field after batting .298 with 4 HR and 9 SB in 215 at bats. 

Should any of the OF starters or (likely 4th outfielder) Nate McLouth struggle or face an unfortunate injury, the Pirates should call Marte up. 

I honestly doubt though that no matter how well a player does in spring training, if they never had any AAA experience they will not make the big league opening day roster.  This even goes for you Bryce Harper.

Pictured above is my latest batch of Starling Marte cards I purchased.

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