It’s not even March yet and Joe is sick of spring training stories.
The one that took the cake was a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote about a home run. In batting practice. In spring training. In February. Please.
Another tired spring training trait of features is to take something obscure, and try to rationalize it as a reason for a rotten season. While Mark Saxon went there in a blurb on BSPN.com with Jhonny Peralta, it is a bit intriguing to Joe.
At first glance, the Cardinals seem crazy to call third base an open competition. One of the players vying for the spot, Jedd Gyorko, led the team with 30 home runs. The other, Jhonny Peralta, is 34 and had a negative WAR (-0.4) in 2016. But the Cardinals think Peralta’s down year was largely a product of a torn thumb ligament in spring training. They saw it play out with Yadier Molina, who struggled in the first half and batted .365 after the All-Star break. “It seems the more repetitions they get or just time they get the strength back to where they look like themselves,” manager Mike Matheny said. “They get that bat speed back and the power.”
First, let’s remind everyone that the empty stat of “WAR” should be abolished. If one believes in WAR, then they also believe Andre Dawson was a rotten player. How many garbage teams did he play on with the Cubs?
(The two most worthless stats in sports are WAR and quarterback rating.)
On face value, this thumb issue suffered last spring by Peralta screams “excuse” which Mike Matheny is wont to do for his players. Couldn’t Peralta have overcome this ailment by, say, August?
This does bear monitoring, if Peralta, 34, is beginning to break down or if this was a legitimate issue.
Still, there is little to justify Peralta starting over a 30-homer guy like Jedd Gyorko.