Spring Training records and statistics mean close to nothing. Let's get that out of the way. It's always fun to watch young prospects play and it's fun to watch Philadelphia Phillies games after going months without them, but the games themselves are completely meaningless.
Despite that, Spring Training can serve as a tiebreaker of sorts when determining the last bench spot or the final bullpen spot or two. Most roster spots are decided in the offseason, but a red-hot or ice-cold spring can indicate whether a player on the cusp makes the roster or not.
These five Phillies players had completely different preseason performances than they did when the games started to count. Good and bad, these Phillies have reminded everyone how meaningless the stat logs are when the games don’t matter.
1) Phillies outfielder Jake Cave proved his hot spring was a fluke
Jake Cave is a prime example of a player who showed just how meaningless Spring Training actually is. He was claimed off of waivers this past offseason and did not have a guaranteed roster spot, but an awesome Spring Training and some injuries won him a roster spot.
Cave slashed .462/.500/.827 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 52 spring at-bats. He tacked on four doubles and three triples while putting up an OPS of 1.327. He wasn't only the best hitter on the Phillies this past spring, he was one of the best hitters in baseball.
With no Bryce Harper, the 30-year-old was the primary left fielder through the month of April with Kyle Schwarber serving as the DH. Cave did not take advantage of that opportunity as he slashed .222/.286/.333 with one home run and nine RBI in 63 at-bats. Cave had ten more hits in Spring Training than he did in his stint with the Phillies in 11 fewer at-bats.
With the monster numbers he's putting up in the minors (1.146 OPS in 54 games), there's a good chance we see him again in some capacity this season, but his Spring Training stats proved that he's nothing more than the guy he's always been, a fringe major leaguer.