Maybe the most important stat during Spring Training is playing time. The positions that a player plays, the amount of playing time the players receive and when that playing time is logged, gives us some insight into what Joe Maddon is thinking as we head towards the regular season.
Below is a look at all the playing time that has been logged by the Rays during the first four games of Spring Training. We will update this list every few days.
Playing time is broken down to the early innings (1-5) and the later innings (6+). This is important because playing time early in the game means the player is more likely to face big league competition. And if JoeMa thinks a player is ready for the big league roster, or if Maddon wants to see if a player is ready, that player will see more playing time early (our notes on the table can be found below)…
Notes on the table…
- First base still looks like an even battle between Casey Kotchman and Dan Johnson. And the loser may not have a spot on the opening day roster.
- We won’t have a good grasp on the 2B and RF dynamics until Ben Zobrist starts getting more playing time. How he is used will determine how much regular playing time Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez will receive during the regular season.
- Also, Elliot Johnson needs to get back on the field soon (tomorrow) because right now, Joe Maddon is getting a lot of looks at Joe Inglett and Felipe Lopez, either of whom could take Johnson’s bench spot.
- Justin Ruggiano is an interesting case. We were beginning to think Sam Fuld had the 4th OF spot locked up. But Ruggiano is getting much more playing time and has seen work at all three OF spots. It would be pretty remarkable if Ruggy went from being placed on waivers to earning a spot on the opening day roster.
- It is still early for the relief pitchers. But at this point, we would be surprised if anybody on the list with less than 2ip early in the games makes the opening day roster (everybody below Kyle Farnsworth in table). And that includes Jake McGee.