In the spring, with so many players in the lineup everyday, it is difficult to learn anything about playing time from the boxscores and statlines. What we really need to know is how much playing time each player gets at each position, and more importantly, when are they in the game at various positions. There is a big difference between playing the first five innings against the Yankees, and playing the final 2 innings against the Reds. In the former scenario, the opposing team is more likely to feature a lineup with everyday major leaguers.
So we broke down the playing time by position. We then split the playing time up in to the first 5 innings of each game and playing time in the last 4 innings. Admittedly, this is a somewhat arbitrary grouping. But glancing at boxscores, it seems that the sixth inning is the most common time for managers to take out their starters.
After the table of position players, we also took a look at the pitchers. We asked the same question: Who is pitching in the most challenging innings of spring games? Again, pitching the ninth inning of a spring game may mean little compared to pitching the third inning, even for a reliever who is more likely to face better hitters early in the game.
This does not necessarily tell us how each player is performing under the different scenarios, but it does give us a sense of what Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey think of each player, who they think can contribute at the major league level this season and which players they want to get a good long look at.
Table for the pitchers is found after the jump and notes on each table are found after each table…
Notes on innings played by position…
- The Rays may think John Jaso is close to being ready as he has received more work behind the plate than Michel Hernandez who was the choice for the postseason roster last season
- If Carlos Pena goes on the DL at any point this season, it looks like Chris Richard will get the call. Willy Aybar would start, but Richard would be on the roster.
- Reid Brignac is getting a lot of playing time, but most of it is late in the game, with Adam Kennedy getting considerably more opportunities at second base.
- Morgan Ensberg isn’t really getting much of a shot early in games with limited playing time at first and third.
- Tim Beckham has received a lot more playing time this spring than we would have thought. Can somebody find how much playing time Evan Longoria received his first spring? It wasn’t nearly this much.
- Joe Maddon’s sentiment that Justin Ruggiano was always in the picture, even before Fernando Perez’ injury is borne out here as he has received a lot of early playing time at all 3 OF spots.
- Pat Burrell has now played 10 innings in the field.
Notes on innings played for pitchers…
- Joe Maddon and Jim Hickey are getting a good long look at Lance Cormier who has more innings than any other reliever.
- The rest of the bullpen is tough to judge as several of the arms are just getting started. We should have a better feel in a week.