Sure it's spring ball and it doesn't matter who wins or loses. It is all about getting the guys ready for the majors. You can't get overly excited at a guy like Marte last year ripping the ball. You also can't get wrapped up in wins or loses or a number of other things. If Andrew McCutchen fails to get another hit this spring it wouldn't matter much. If Burnett continues to struggle... you look at it as though he is working on things and will hunker down once the season starts. That being said, I think there are a lot of things you can look at in spring that do matter. For the Pirates more so than many other clubs.
We have a ton of players between RF and 1B. It would be nice to have a few of them step up and take a job this spring. It would also be nice to try and figure out the best way to fill our bench. It looks as though Gaby Sanchez is seeing the ball well, gives me hope of a nice platoon. I would also like to see Snider and Tabata continue to have a nice spring. Pie is a wild card for me and for him I think this spring matters. Once a highly touted prospect, he has had marginal success in the majors. I think this spring he can play himself onto or off of the team. For him Spring Training matters. Jerry Sands and Brad Hawpe also could make a splash with a good spring, but I don't see that happening. For them spring training matters. To a lesser extent Clint Robinson as well. Alex Presley is on the outside looking in right now. He needs a strong Spring. Also a lot is yet to be determined up the middle. Barmes and Walker are two people I could care less about this spring. But Mercer, Harrison and D'Arnaud are playing for a backup role. It would be nice if Mercer could put together a great spring and cement himself as the Utility guy who can play 2nd SS and 3rd. This would really free up a lot for our bench.
While there are things that do matter offensively, for the most part positions are locked up and staying healthy is most important(McCutchen, Jones, Marte, Walker, Barmes, Martin, Alvarez). Sure it would be nice if they had a good spring, but all of us would take a awful spring as long as we start the year healthy.
Pitching is another story. I don't care what AJ does, I don't care what Wandy does, I don't care what Grilli does or too much what Watson does. Hughes is another guy I wont get overly excited about one way or another. Other than that...... .there are a lot of questions and a lot of worries. James Macdonald is the biggest worry I have. Sure shake off the fact that he tossed batting practice for the other team. This is a guy who was a legit ace for the first half of the season last year and had a mental break. He couldn't throw a strike to save his life toward the end of the season and when he did he left it out over the plate. For him I am very worried and while his ERA doesn't matter, his control does. I don't want to see too many walks or too many pitches missing out over the plate. He had a horrible spring last year and then turned it on for the regular season. I just have a lot of questions and worry with him. The rest of the rotation is up in the air. With injuries hanging around, how can spring not matter for guys like Locke, and Mcfear. With bullpen slots open, Morris, Wilson, and a handful of others can seperate or sink themselves. You can't tell me that for a guy like Bryan Morris that you don't wish for him to go out and be a shutdown reliever this spring, and that if he has a horrible spring, most everyone is going to be wishing him out of the Pen.
So while the casual fan can look at Pedro this spring and go "here we go again". This doesn't raise many eyebrows on here. However I do get worried when I see Sanchez missing the plate, or Oliver stink up the joint. These are guys who have an outside chance (and some of us are wishful for them to seize the opportunity) to win a rotation spot. Assuredly at some point they will get some starts this season. Lets hope for a little more promise out of these guys this spring.
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.