Spring Training Stats Don't Matter: Example B, Jon Weber

When it comes to spring training and statistics I am a non-believer. I am obsessed with watching the games, but it is more to get a feel for the players involved and it hardly ever matters to me who won, who lost, or if the players do really well or really poorly. Sure, part of me cringes a little bit if someone has a horrible day, but in the end I realize it is spring and this doesn’t really count. (This lead was stolen from example A).

It seems that when it comes to 32-year-old outfielder Jon Weber and his .588 spring training batting average people have forgotten the uselessness of spring stats. Our former writer Lenny Neslin seems to have fallen in love with Weber, It Is High is wishing there was a spot for him on the roster, and there are plenty of fans falling in line right behind them.

Joe Girardi even said it would be “very possible” that Weber would make the roster out of spring training if he were a righty. So much for having a manager who understands sample sizes (not to mention Weber usually plays late in games against scrubs).

My message to them: Wake Up!

Weber is 32-years-old, an age when real major leaguers will start to drop off a little bit even if slightly. I’m expected to believe that at this age Weber has finally gotten hit act together. This is of course after bouncing around the league from Cincinnati to Oakland to Los Angeles, then to Arizona, Texas, and Tampa Bay. Yes, after all those stops the Bronx is going to be the place where he makes a name for himself?

The real story with Jon Weber is that he was signed to fill the role Shelley Duncan and John Rodriguez filled last year: an outfielder for triple-A Scranton. And the two of them had a combined 15 at bats in the big leagues last year which is about what you should expect, at best, out of Weber this year. Even if there is a run of injuries.

Weber might not even get that far. Players like Colin Curtis and David Winfree probably have at least as good a chance as being the first outfielder called up. After all, those two actually have a pretty good chance at being in the organization next year.

We should also not forget that Weber’s best numbers during his career came pre-2005. Right before he was suspended for 15-games for using PEDs.

This rant was not meant to be an anti-Weber rant. Sorry Weber fans if it comes out that way. I’m sure the people of Scranton will really like him in fact. It’s just that hitting .588 in spring training means nothing and I wish people would stop forgetting that.

What do you think? Am I being unreasonable?

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13 Responses to Spring Training Stats Don't Matter: Example B, Jon Weber

  1. I'm not in love with him. It was Chad Jennings who said he earned the start and it was Sweeny Murti who said he doesn't fit the Yankees bill. You are right in that we shouldn't weigh spring stats too much, and that the other outfield prospects have just as good a chance. However, these kinds of springs don't go unnoticed when the team is looking for someone to replace an injured player.

  2. Mike S. says:

    If anything, he could be a midseason call-up and find lightning in a bottle. A one-season flash in the pan as a replacement because of injury. One of the best examples of that was Bob Hazle of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hazle

    • I'd say that at best he could get called up and just happen to get hot at that time. While that was happening, even if he was hitting .400, Brian Cashman would be trying to trade for a replacement because he understands sample sizes pretty well.

    • Damn, Hazle was a beast for a while there wasn't he? That would be crazy and probably impossible for Weber to do that. Hazle was 26 when he did that, you are just entering your prime at that age, not exiting it as Weber is.

      • Mike S. says:

        True, but you never know when you might get lucky for a short spell. Best recent example? Aaron Small in 2005. Talk about lightning in a bottle.

        • Mike S. says:

          Just bringing up Small because we've seen it…and recently, too…and from someone who was 33 at the time. Granted it's a once in a decade thing perhaps, but we have seen it… and of course in 2006 the lightning (for Small; just like 1958 for Hazle) was out of the bottle. It's just a case of getting lucky at the right time.

  3. Damn Lenny, that was a quick response. I do have to say though, that you might as well replace somebody with Cody Ransom if you are going to put Jon Weber out there.

  4. Just remember, Small might have had a 3.20 ERA in 2005, but in 2006 he came back with a 8.46 ERA.

    • Mike S. says:

      It's what I said. The lightning came out of the bottle. You strike while the iron is hot, and have to realize when it isn't hot anymore. Ride the wave but realize when to get off.

  5. Brandon p says:

    Take a look a Webers record I believe hes had 10 championships in 11 seasons Hes one of those guys that by hard work and determination he brings a contagious winning streak with him and it does seem every year the yankees bring up a virtual unknown to and outfield spot ala spencer

    • How many minor league championships a guy has been a part of really makes no difference to the Yankees. There are 24 other guys on his team, he didn't do it alone. That's like saying Eric Hinske is great because he made it to the world series 3 years in a row with 3 different teams.

    • Len1 says:

      In Mexico, he led Triple A Mazatlan to a league championship in 2009, and in 2010 to the 7th game of the league championship which they lost 1-0