Colorado Rockies: The 4 biggest takeaways from time at spring training

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 25: Archie Bradley #25 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch during the fourth inning of the spring training game against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 25, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 25: Archie Bradley #25 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch during the fourth inning of the spring training game against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 25, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 01: Kyle Freeland #31 of the Colorado Rockies pitches during the first inning of a regular season MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on October 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 01: Kyle Freeland #31 of the Colorado Rockies pitches during the first inning of a regular season MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on October 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images) /

Don’t sweat the numbers too much

Ian Desmond is working on a new swing. Bryan Shaw gives up a home run in his first outing in a Colorado uniform. Antonio Senzatela throwing plenty of changeups.

Baseball writers and fans are focused on statistics and performance, but spring is also a time for players to work on things that they may or may not use once the regular season arrives. If a player is going to work on a tweak to his stance or throwing motion, it’s best to do it in an exhibition game than when the games count in the standings.

Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies /

Colorado Rockies

As an example, Shaw, one of the Colorado’s biggest offseason signings, has a career 6.03 ERA in 61 spring training games. His regular-season ERA is at 3.13.

Another example is Kyle Freeland, one of last year’s biggest breakthroughs in the rotation. He has a 6.75 ERA in eight innings pitched over three starts. That’s less than three innings per start, something that certainly won’t happen in the regular season and one of the reasons why Freeland is focused on other things than his ERA in the spring.

"“Getting first-pitch strikes is extremely key. It improves your chance of getting that batter out by a serious percentage,” Freeland said after his Thursday start. “First pitch strike is very key for me, especially early in the spring and going into the regular season.”"

A fastball in spring training that might be pushed for a first strike might not be the same as a pitch thrown in the regular season. Different scenarios and different circumstances. If you’re worried about stats this early, relax a little and know that spring training is for trials and experiments that may not always result in the best numbers.

Want to see a perfect example of that? It’s all in what Jon Gray told me after Friday’s rough outing against the Indians.

And there’s always this reminder from Cubs manager/philosopher Joe Maddon…

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