We all know that there are things in life you just shouldn’t do. You should never text and drive, you should never get involved in a land war in Asia and you should never make roster decisions based solely on Spring Training stats. But there are reports that Terry Collins was tapping furiously on his phone while driving down the highway to get to the local Denny’s in time for the senior special. While we can hope he was trying to reach someone in the defense department, more likely he was looking at Spring Training stats on mlb.com while thinking about the Opening Day roster.
While Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both have received few PA in their battle for the first base job due to injuries, there are other positions still very much up in the air where the participants have more than 20 trips to the plate. Let’s take a look at these early results to see what we can find and determine who is the early leader in these various battles to go north with the big club.
John Lannan – 8 IP, 1.13 ERA, 0 BB, 9 Ks
Daisuke Matsuzaka – 7.2 IP, 3.52 ERA, 0 BB, 7 Ks
Jenrry Mejia – 2.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 BB, 3 Ks
Rafael Montero – 6.1 IP, 1.42 ERA, 1 BB, 4 Ks
Noah Syndergaard – 8.2 IP, 5.19 ERA, 5 BB, 10 Ks
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the following pitchers are going to be on the Opening Day roster: Parnell, Black, Torres and Rice. Here’s how others in the running are performing:
Joel Carreno – 5.0 IP, 3.60 ERA, 5 BB, 7 Ks
Jeurys Familia – 5.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 BB, 4 Ks
Kyle Farnsworth – 5.0 IP, 5.40 ERA, 1 BB, 1 K
Gonzalez Germen – 6.2 IP, 6.75 ERA, 3 BB, 5 Ks
Ryan Reid – 6.0 IP, 10.75 ERA, 4 BB, 5 Ks
Jose Valverde – 5.1 IP, 5.06 ERA, 1 BB, 4 Ks
Lannan was listed among the starting pitchers but it seems like a decent bet that he opens the season as the second lefty in the bullpen. Never mind that he has a track record as a starter in the majors and has never pitched an inning of relief in the big leagues, either. To be fair, he did have two relief appearances as recently as 2007 and a total of seven in his 95-game career in the minors.
Juan Centeno is seemingly not in the running for the backup catcher’s spot, as he has only 6 ABs. The backup middle infield position looks totally uninspiring and only gets worse if you include Ruben Tejada’s numbers, thinking Sandy Alderson will acquire someone else to be the starter. The spot for the final outfielder is shaping up to be a fine battle. We can’t say the same yet for the final spot in the bullpen. If Familia and Lannan get added to our earlier four guys, that leaves Carreno and Valverde for the final spot, with neither pitcher really stepping forward as a frontrunner.
Of course, it’s a good thing to remember Blaine Boyer. He had a track record as a poor reliever but picked a great time to string together (roughly) 10 sparkling relief innings. He made the Opening Day roster back in 2011 but each time he was brought into a game once the regular season started, he was hit hard. Mercifully, he was cut after just five games.