Every time the Los Angeles Dodgers begin Spring Training we tell ourselves stats don’t matter — and then every year it seems like someone crushes it in the spring and manages to carry that success over to the regular season. Which leaves us back wondering: do Spring Training stats matter at all?
Last year, Chris Taylor did his best to make the big league roster by hitting .354/.483/.500 in 48 at-bats. While he wasn’t with the Dodgers on Opening Day, he eventually got the call and proved that his Spring Training statistics weren’t a fluke.
By the same token, however, it’s easy to forget the others who fared well in Cactus League play. Take Rob Segedin for instance, he batted .406/.441/.844 with three home runs and five doubles in 36 at-bats.
And how did that translate into the regular season? He saw just 20 at-bats with the Dodgers and hit just .200/.200/.300. Although, he did bat .320/.347/.515 with Triple-A Oklahoma City. To be fair, one reason for Segedin’s lack of opportunities was injury.
Nonetheless, the reality is that due to a small sample size, the same story is replayed every spring. So what do we do? Do we ignore Spring Training numbers? Can we assume that for every five Segedin’s there’s going to be one Taylor?
It’s difficult to say — but with skepticism firmly in hand, it’s time to evaluate which Dodgers have has stood out thus far in 2018.
Matt Kemp (.379/.419/.862, four home runs in 29 at-bats)
No Spring Training story, particularly with respect to the Dodgers, should begin anywhere other than with team’s former MVP candidate and current unknown, Matt Kemp. Currently tied for third in home runs across the league, Kemp has been everything fans could have hoped for.
And he’s someone who continues to be a fascinating storyline to watch as we approach Opening Day.
Kyle Farmer (.474/.560/.947, two home runs in 19 at-bats)
Still jammed up behind Austin Barnes and Yasmani Grandal on the catching depth chart, Kyle Farmer is doing his best to make a case for an eventual spot on the roster. While unlikely to make the Opening Day roster, Farmer should be one of the first hitters called up should the team need another bat off the bench.
Jake Peter (.286/.300/.714, three home runs, 12 RBI in 28 at-bats)
While he only has eight hits, Peter has made the most of them as five have gone for extra bases (one double, one triple, three homers). For those unfamiliar with Peter, he was part of the trade that brought reliever Scott Alexander over from Kansas City in a three-team deal that also included the Chicago White Sox.
Peter is a classic utility man that the Dodgers have targeted in more ways than one. Not only does he play all over the place (ala Kiké Hernandez and Taylor), but he also has seen a very recent — and almost out-of-nowhere — power surge, which has carried into this spring.
Like Farmer, Peter is unlikely to break camp with the team, but he definitely should see time with the Dodgers this season.
Andrew Toles (.355/.353/.677, two home runs, nine RBI in 31 at-bats)
Back in December, it was written here that Andrew Toles was my prediction for the 2018 version of Chris Taylor.
Since signing with the Dodgers, Toles has been under-the-radar fantastic when healthy. He’s shown thus far that last season’s ACL injury hasn’t caused him to miss a beat. Will his strong spring give him the edge he needs to be the team’s Opening Day starter in left field?
Could he and Kemp be part of a platoon? Either way, Toles is definitely someone to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.