John Fay has a post in which he discusses some things he’s looking forward to seeing at spring training, including this nugget:
–Catching Jay Bruce in the hitting cage. I remember the first time I saw Josh Hamilton last year. I knew he was special after about eight swings. Bruce needs a good — maybe great spring — make the club. He’s certainly capable.
Well, I’d be excited about that, too. And I can’t necessarily say that Fay is wrong in his assessment about what Bruce needs to do to make the Opening Day roster.
But I can’t help but wonder why Bruce would need to have a great spring to make the club. Why would any team make a decision like that based on a few dozen ABs in spring against pitchers working on a changeup or a slider and AAA pitchers in split-squad games? It’s a terrible way to decide — after all, these players have a record and making important decisions based on spring play seems absurd.
Teams do it every year, though. Some guy will make the bullpen because he had an ERA of 0.43 in 11.2 spring innings, despite having a career ERA of 5.97 in six big league seasons.
If Jay Bruce isn’t ready, start him at AAA. If he is ready, put him on the major league roster and let him play every day. But don’t make that decision based upon his performance in the spring.
(For the record, I think he needs to be starting in center field on Opening Day.)