Spring Training is a great time for young players to show what they can do at the major league level. Granted, it isn’t exactly major league talent that they face all the time, but it’s a higher level of ball than the minors on any given night.
The Detroit Tigers have a slew of young talented players competing for roster spots or hoping to plant a seed in the minds of executives that they could be a midseason call up. As many of you know, the final scores of these games don’t matter. Oftentimes the final box score doesn’t show the true story of a Spring Training game because there are about four to six innings of unproven and inexperienced players playing the field. It’s important to look at the individual stat lines to really get a feel of how the game went.
As an example, today’s game against the New York Mets was a loss in the record books for the Tigers by the score of 6-2, but that doesn’t even remotely show the impact of the game for either team. Detroit’s Jeff Kobernus was one of the standout players in the game going 3-4. It’s easy to get carried away by the performance of one game, but he’s hitting .316 so far this spring. Taking into account that he’s a rule five player who has to make the major league roster for the Tigers, this is a big deal. He seems to be getting some long looks by the coaching staff since the outfield has been hindered by injuries, which could ultimately win him a spot on the roster.
If you’re a Tigers fan, then you should know who Avisail Garcia is and if not, you should watch some more games. He’s one of the very young prospects for Detroit who made a great impact last year, but with all the competition, he could start the year off in the minors. He went 2-4 with two RBI’s and a run scored today against the Mets and is hitting .250 this year, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. He’s a young player with tons of potential, that’s for sure, and the Tigers don’t want to rush him. He could potentially be the best option for a bench player or a platoon player in left field, but they don’t want to take a chance.
The two situations couldn’t be any more different: Kobernus has to make the team in order to stay in the organization but Garcia might actually be encouraged to not make the team. That’s what makes Spring Training so interesting. There are so many story lines that spawn opinions from anyone who watches. Will they make the team or will they not? Who knows! One thing is for certain–these games might not count, but they do matter.