Who ‘dat? Spring training leaders to ponder

Alex Liddi: The Sultan of Swat in spring training 2012. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Spring training 2012 has finally come to an end. Teams are packing up their gear in Florida and Arizona and heading back to their home cities across the country.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their baseball teams!

What can we gather from this version of spring training? Does what we saw in Arizona and Florida for 30 to 40 games have any bearing on the upcoming major league season? Should we be excited about the guys who had great springs and worried about the ones who didn’t?

That remains to be seen, but I did find some interesting tidbits while digesting some 2012 spring training stats over the weekend. Looking at the “leaders” in various offensive and pitching categories this spring produced some surprising results.

In fact, Through The Fence Baseball dictator Jamie Shoemaker will give a dollar to anyone who can name the three players who had the highest batting averages this spring! (No Googling!) Okay, I just made that up to get your attention, but I still bet that no one can name these three players.

Heck, I bet it will be tough for someone to name one of them.

If you think Albert Pujols had the highest spring batting average, you’re wrong. Ditto for guessing Joe Mauer, Matt Kemp, Jose Reyes or Miguel Cabrera. The player who had the second-most RBIs this spring is another surprise. If you picked this guy, you’re either real smart or real lucky.

How about the pitcher who won the most games this spring? Care to take a stab at that one? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia or Justin Verlander. The reader who knows the answer to this question receives a free “Leo Nunez Identity Erasure Kit!”

I’m not saying the players in these spring training statistical categories are going to have monster 2012 campaigns. I’m just saying some of the names and numbers are interesting. Take from these stats what you will. Any false hope or unnecessary concern is strictly in the hands of the beholder:

2012 MLB spring training hitting leaders

Batting Average

1. Alex Liddi, 3B Seattle – .429 average in 35 at-bats
2. Andy Dirks, OF Detroit – .422 average in 45 at-bats
3. Collin Cowgill, OF Oakland – .419 average in 43 at-bats

Who? Huh? Liddi, Dirks and Cowgill sounds more like the name of a law firm instead of the spring batting average leaders in Major League Baseball. It will be fun to monitor this trio to see if they stay hot this season.

Home Runs

Five players tied this spring by hitting six homers. From the look of this category, there should be plenty of power in Atlanta and Detroit! The home run leaders are: Brennan Boesch, OF Detroit; Ryan Raburn, OF Detroit; Dan Uggla, 2B Atlanta; Freddie Freeman, 1B Atlanta; and Alfonso Soriano, OF Chicago Cubs.


1. Eric Hosmer, 1B Kansas City – 26
2. Luke Hughes, 2B Minnesota – 19
2. Dmitri Young, OF Detroit – 19

I think everyone is expecting big things from Hosmer in Kansas City this season. He looks like the real deal for a young Royals team that is on the rise. I don’t know who Luke Hughes is and I’m not really in the mood to look him up.

On-Base Percentage

1. Chris Young, OF Arizona – .508
2. Liddi, 3B Seattle – .500
3. Hanley Ramirez, 3B Miami – .491

When you’re getting on base 50 percent of the time, good things are going to happen. Young and Ramirez are stars in MLB, but Liddi is an unknown. If he keeps popping up in these categories, he might not be unknown for long.

2012 MLB spring training pitching leaders


1. Luis Mendoza, Kansas City – 4-0 (with an ERA of 0.54 in 16.2 innings)
2. Nine players tied with three wins this spring: Brad Brach, San Diego; Matt Cain, San Francisco; Brett Cecil, Toronto; Doug Fister, Detroit; Luke Hochevar, Kansas City; Garrett Richards, Los Angeles (Anaheim!) Angels; Jeff Samardzija, Chicago Cubs; Eric Surkamp, San Francisco; and Randy Wolf, Milwaukee.


1. Zack Greinke, Milwaukee – 28 K in 19 innings
2. Francisco Liriano, Minnesota – 26 K in 22 innings
3. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia – 24 K in 20 innings
3. Max Scherzer, Detroit – 24 K in 25 innings

Can you tell that I’m ready for the 2012 MLB season to fully get underway? Now I can stop looking at spring training stats and can start concentrating on what really matters! Wait, did you see the Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched stats this spring? Never mind.

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