After a contentious and embittered winter, spring has sprung for the 2022 San Francisco Giants with a 7 - 3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.
Friendly reminder that final scores do not really matter in Spring Training games. Sure it’s probably a good sign if Darin Ruf posts a 1.000 plus OPS these next couple of weeks and the Giants win every game by 10 runs—but a bad spring record is no reason to sound the alarm, nor is going hitless against Chicago pitching for 7 innings (which is what happened last night).
The Giants' first run of spring training comes off the bat of Diego Rincones pic.twitter.com/zLKMltZ6ro— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) March 19, 2022
Everyone approaches spring a little differently. Players with a guaranteed spot on the MLB roster are looking for their rhythm. Hitters are less concerned about clobbering the ball, but seeing the ball. They want to work on recognizing pitches, getting their timing back. It depends on the hitter, but generally players feel like they need a specific number of at-bats to feel comfortable again in the box. Ian Kinsler once said he needed 45 trips to the plate to be ready for Opening day.
Spring Training is all about developing good habits that will pay dividends in the regular season.
But again, job security is a luxury. Brandon Crawford is going to have a different approach than a non-roster invitee, or a cusp player like Jason Vosler. Heliot Ramos is going to use these Arizona ABs to hopefully show off an improving plate discipline and make a case for his big league call up. For a lot of players, these on-field opportunities in Scottsdale are going to be the biggest of their careers.
Brett Auerbach flashes some speed with an RBI triple pic.twitter.com/TvYTVwLo4r— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) March 19, 2022
Pitchers take longer to get ready for the regular season. In a normal year, they report to camp in late February, a week before position players. Starting pitchers’ workloads will be low in these early games and will build up their pitch count in subsequent appearances. These outings are all about getting their arm strength up and developing a feel for pitches.
Last night, Logan Webb had a feel for his pitches.
2 IP | 0 H | 0 ER | 5 K— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) March 19, 2022
Logan Webb's spring debut was pic.twitter.com/qvAW2HgC7U
He struck out five—four swinging—over two innings. He threw a diving 1-2 changeup that righty Nico Hoerner swung over the top of to punch out the first batter he faced in 2022. The next batter bounced a grounder to short that on contact sounded like his bat hit a brick wall. His next two strikeouts came on whiffs at breaking balls that teased the strike zone before falling out of it.
Sure batters are getting their sea legs back as well, but the movement and placement of those pitches were exactly what you want to see from Webb mid-season.
This is a funky spring training. Players are going to have to get ready fast to be ready for opening day on April 8th and based on last night’s brief performance, Logan Webb hasn’t missed a beat.