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Friday Rockpile links, 3/21: When Spring Training does matter

Spring training stats don't matter at all, except of course when they sort of do.

Thomas Harding has a few brief notes on yesterday's game and they include mentions of Brandon Barnes and Boone Logan. Barnes homered in a 2-3 day at the plate that could have been 3-3 if another line drive fell in. I think Barnes's good day at the plate is part of something larger going on this spring where the upcoming outfield roster crunch is helping the Rockies. Barnes, Corey Dickerson, and Charlie Blackmon, three guys likely competing for two remaining roster spots in the outfield have all had decent to strong springs.

Now I'll be the first person to tell you that spring stats should be taken about as seriously as Alex Rodriguez denying performance enhancing drug use. However, even though they are useless in terms of predicting future success, I do believe they can have an impact on races for roster spots that are as close as this one. In other words, the spring stats indirectly matter here because they will likely shape the roster for games that do matter. Right now, Barnes would seem to be in the lead based on performance leaving Blackmon and Dickerson to battle for the last spot, but it's obviously still too close to call.

The battle is tight enough so that any of them could get sent to AAA Colorado Springs to start the season and they all know it. As a result, they all have to treat these games as something more than spring training and it could set up a situation where you really get decent production from all of these guys during the regular season as the competition to stay in the majors fuels each of them just a little bit more than usual.

I'll hold off on saying anything too negative on Boone Logan since it was his first appearance of the spring but boy to bases loaded walks from our pitchers make my blood pressure rise.

Tracy Ringolsby reviews Nolan Arenado's journey and maturation over the last couple of seasons from minor league hopeful to solid major league contributor. His season is one of the great unknowns for the 2014 Rockies. He could do anything from continue his outstanding defensive play and take big strides at the plate to regress defensively and fail to make the right adjustments. Young players are generally extremely unpredictable, and Arenado, who will only turn 23 in April is no exception.

Speaking of Arenado, fangraphs released their third base and second base projected rankings yesterday. Arenado allowed Colorado to crack the top ten at third base but they are a distant 21st at second. The good news is that they rank ahead of the Dodgers at two positions that don't include Tulo and Cargo.

Around MLB

Believe it or not, we are less than 24 hours away from real baseball. Tonight / early tomorrow morning at 2:00 am mountain time, the Dodgers and D'Backs will officially begin the season from Australia. The Dodgers have already released their lineup which includes Yasiel Puig leading off  and playing right field.

This should be fun as both teams absolutely despise each other for multiple reasons ranging from the D'Backs persistent head hunting to Dodger players reliving themselves in the Arizona outfield pool during their celebration last September. Let's hope for a brawl big enough to warrant some significant suspensions.

It's now looking like Jose Iglesias may miss the entire season with stress fractures in both legs. The Tigers still claim that they will look within the organization for answers but I'm thinking that with this team in a "win now" mode, they are going to have to make a trade or sign Stephen Drew at some point because they just don't have many good options. In any case, if Detroit is so dead set against losing a first round draft pick for the potential Drew signing, I hear there might be a shortstop available in Philadelphia.

Atlanta's Brandon Beachy is going to have surgery on his right elbow today and will miss the entire season. If you subscribe to the theory that the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Nationals are the favorites to win the NL divisions and that the Rockies best hope at a playoff spot is through the Wild Card, they're probably a lot closer to being there than they were a few weeks ago with all these injuries that are occurring to key teams they will need to bypass.

I already talked about how much losing Patrick Corbin for the year is going to hurt the D'Backs on Monday, but now you add in the Braves losing both Kris Medlen and Beachy for the year as well as the Reds losing Aroldis Chapman to that awful line drive off the face earlier this week for who knows how long, and all  of a sudden the competition doesn't look as strong as I thought it was going to be even at the beginning of this month. Those are three teams who represent some pretty serious obstacles in Colorado's playoff path and they all have been dealt very serious blows before leaving the starting gate.

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