Last night Johnny, Hugo and I tried to record our second podcast. Despite better microphones (or who knows, maybe because of them) we had more technical issues that the first time out. We did have great fun though. If you ever get the chance you have to ask Johnny to do his Cher impression for you.
Anyway, every spring I pick a player to irrationally cheer on to make the team. A couple of years ago it was Jason Lane, last year it was Chris Lubanski.
I know that teams don't really choose players for their roster in spring training. They are too smart for that. Spring training is the ultimate in small sample. Add in that part of the 'small sample' will be coming against players with no shot at making the majors and that players are working on different things during spring, maybe their swings or a new pitch or something. So judging players on what they do in a few spring games is one of those foolish things that us fans do.
I mean, yeah there could be an injury or two that could change things and maybe the last spot in the rotation or bullpen could change, if they like what they see in someone. Or the team might decide that someone might need a month more in the minors than they thought. But, for the most part, teams know who they are going to take north with them before camp opens. The best most of the others can do is show well and create a warm feeling in the heart of the manager and other decision makers on the team.
I know all that.
And yet I still pick a player, who has no real hope of making the team, to champion.
I haven't picked my guy yet this year. My leading candidates are:
- Brett Lawrie: I think he is showing really well, especially on defense, surprisingly enough. I have very little doubt that he would hit reasonably in the majors, but that he has made some really nice plays, in the first few spring games, is something I didn't expect. Now as much as I think he could do a good enough job for the Jays, unless there is an injury, he can't make the major league team. The best he can do is show really well and put the seed in John Farrell and Alex Anthopoulos' head that he could do the job if someone gets injured or doesn't do the job on the major league team.
- Eric Thames: He has hit for the cycle this spring. He is 4 for 9. After being drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 draft, Eric has moved up the Jays system quickly. He has done quite well for himself, but I don't think he has done so well that the Jays would want him to jump from Double-A to the majors in one spring. But, again, if he has a great spring and does well in Vegas, if one of our outfielder were to go down, he could get the cal.
- Darin Mastroianni: I really think he would be as good a choice for 4th outfielder as Cory Patterson or Scott Posednik but again, I don't see the Jays having him jump Triple-A. I think he could make a excellent 4th outfielder and likely will at some point.
- Chad Cordero: I don't think he has pitched yet this spring, but I have a soft spot for him as a former Expo and former closer. He's had some tough times, but could be back to the pitcher he once was. With the number of right handed relievers we have, his only change to make the team is to go to Vegas, pitch really well and wait for an injury or trade or something.
- Jo-Jo Reyes: Sort of a cheat, because he has a chance of actually making the team, if only because he is out of options, so if the Jays think he has any value, they have to keep him on the team or risk losing him. I think he'll get lots of chances to show what he can do this spring, but I'm guessing it is more to show other teams what he can do, so he'd have some value in a trade. I can't imagine him making the starting rotation, but with Jesse Carlson hurting, there is a tiny chance he could make the bullpen.
I'm going to give it a few more days, but I'm thinking one of these 5 will be my irrational pick to make the team. Who are you cheering on to make the team, even though you know he won't?