Spring Training often brings mixed feelings and it is quite a hypocritical time. You don’t care if your team wins or loses, unless they have the best record. Your best player is struggling? He’s working on things. Your best prospect is doing well? He’s going to be rookie of the year. Some random guy starts hitting like he’s never hit before? Find him a roster spot.
March 18, 2013; Viera, FL, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche (25) hits a home run against the Detroit Tigers during the spring training game at Space Coast Stadium. Detroit beat Washington 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
There are so many unknowns in Spring Training that it is hard to take anything from it. So when you see Rafael Soriano getting singled to death and giving up several runs against the Detroit Tigers yesterday, you wonder. Was he working on things? Has he lost something? So far this Spring he has a 11.57 ERA and a .409 OBA. Using Baseball Reference’s OppQual which takes into consideration the average batter he is facing, Soriano is facing somewhere in between an average of AAA and Major League competition as of before his appearance in yesterday’s game. So the fact he’s getting hit isn’t as concerning as if he was facing guys who weren’t even close to the majors.
On a positive note, Jordan Zimmermann had his sinker working and pitched outstanding. He pitched six innings allowing only one hit to lead off the game. After that, he retired 18 straight batters and got 14 ground ball outs. With a Tigers lineup including Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, that’s mighty impressive.
Continuing with the positive, Wilson Ramos went 3/3 and raised his average this Spring to .444. If Ramos is healthy and continues to make strides as he did last year before the injury, he will not only be the starter over Kurt Suzuki but he will provide the Nationals with something they didn’t really have last year – offense from the catching position.
Adam LaRoche, who has only been hitting .143 this Spring provided the only scoring for Washington with a solo homerun off of Max Scherzer. Drew Storen worked around a hit and a walk by striking out the side in his inning of work.