When trying to determine data, people are warned not to pay attention to small sample sizes. Likewise, when trying to determine how a player will perform during the regular season, it is best not to pay attention to the numbers put together in Spring Training. Trying to determine anything from a small sample size in Spring Training? That would seemingly be a rather futile exercise.
At this point, however, that is what we have to go on. Looking over those Spring Training statistics, there are several players that stand out. Lorenzo Cain is hitting .400 thus far. Carlos Peguero has taken three walks(!!) in 15 at bats. Pedro Ciriaco is hitting .429 with three doubles and a home run as he tries to force his way onto the Royals roster. Yet, of all those performances, perhaps the most impressive one thus far is how Mike Moustakas is playing in Surprise.
Thus far in Spring Training, Moustakas has posted a .435/.536/.913 batting line with three home runs. He has walked four times with only four strikeouts. After working on his swing and coming into Spring Training in better shape, Moustakas is driving the ball with authority. So far, at least according to these statistics, that adjustment is working.
Yet, we have seen this before. Mike Moustakas hit well in Spring Training last year, producing a .394/.429/.718 batting line with five home runs in Spring Training. Yet, there are subtle differences. Moustakas only walked five times in his 77 plate appearances last year while striking out 16 times. He is almost to that walk total already. Although the amount of pitches per at bat are about the same as they were last year, Moustakas has been more patient when necessary while jumping on pitches he can drive.
We can hope that this is the year that the success from Spring Training finally carries over to the regular season. We can hope that, with his new approach and improved swing, that Moustakas will finally become the player that we all hoped that he would be. But until Moustakas proves that he can actually perform at that level in the regular season, that is all we have – hope.
Mike Moustakas is hammering the ball during Spring Training once again. And once again, all we can do is hope that this is the year that he actually carries that over to the regular season.