It is unfair to suggest that statistics mean nothing during spring training. After all, players must demonstrate the ability to be productive, even if the games are all exhibitions. The point is that the Seattle Mariners are not going to release Robinson Cano if he has a bad month of March. Nor will the Mariners get too excited if a player gets a few hits off of what is essentially minor league pitching.
That said, statistics during the spring must be taken with a grain of salt. In some cases, a whole salt shaker might be appropriate.
The Mariners have started out with some solid offensive production and there are some individual players that are getting on base. These include:
Robinson Cano: .500
Dustin Ackley: .462
Mike Zunino: .444
Nick Franklin: .333
Corey Hart: .333 (.556 OBP)
Logan Morrison .333
Again, fans must remember that this is spring and at this point the sample size is very small. If any of these players hit this well (even the .333 guys) during the regular season, the faithful at Safeco Field will jump for joy.
Where the stats do make a bigger difference is with younger players who are currently not guaranteed spots on the roster. This goes both ways. For example, Abraham Almonte is trying to earn a spot in the outfield after a solid performance late in 2013. Almonte has been given plenty of at-bats, but he is hitting .133 so far and he has a .235 OBP. He may get a spot on the roster by default, but he might need to warm up his bat between now and opening day.
Then there is a player like Jesus Montero. After coming into camp in poor physical shape, GM Jack Zduriencik stated that the team has “no expectations” for Montero. Translation? Montero will need to prove his worth if he doesn’t want to spend the season in Tacoma. His .100 batting average thus far isn’t going to get it done.
Finally, there Stefen Romero, who many hope will eventually be a solid contributor in the outfield. Through March 5, Romero has played in five games. He has 12 at-bats and four strikeouts. No hits. Hardly a strong argument for making the team.
In the end, numbers do matter to a certain extent. Notable performances will lead to earned or lost jobs. Once the season starts, the numbers refresh and the accumulation of real statistics will begin.