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We are well-aware of the fact that spring training is not the best barometer for how a baseball player’s season will unfold as some of the best seasons in the history of the league were preceded by subpar showings during the spring months. That being said, this year’s spring training has been a dumpster fire for an unprecedentedly large number of bona fide MLB superstars.
The fans are getting anxious. The teammates are getting anxious. The owners and the league officials are getting anxious.
But who are the players whose spring showings have been the absolute worst this year?
David Ortiz is facing his last season in the game and there has to be a lot on his mind (despite the fact he’s denied this over and over again). And it is not like he had a fantastic spring last year but still managed to play the way he can during the regular season. Ortiz’s greatest problem is that he made us all get used to stellar performances and stellar seasons that he is not living up to this spring training season. Perhaps he’ll pick it up again when the season starts?
— David Ortiz (@davidortiz) March 24, 2016
Justin Upton got serious money from the Detroit Tigers and they expect their big star to perform. Last three years, he averaged an OPS of .814. Over the course of his career, his spring training OPS has been .858. This spring training, Upton has been hitting just .550 OPS. If we were Tigers’ fans, we’d be worried.
Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants has been a picture of reliability over the course of his career, but if this spring training season is anything to go by, the slew of injuries may actually be catching up with him. He’s been posting an ERA of 11.12, which is way, way, way off-mark for him.
The question that everyone associated with the New York Yankees is asking by now is whether Masahiro Tanaka is simply trying to let his right elbow heal thoroughly or whether the injury has ruined his throw. Considering the fact Yankees’ pitching coach himself said he would like to see Tanaka throw as fast as he can, we’ve yet to see those trademark Tanaka throws. Or maybe they are simply not there anymore?
Kris Bryant had a spectacular season last year, actually meeting the expectations of pretty much every Chicago Cubs stakeholder. He had an .858 OPS and, more importantly, 26 home runs. This spring, he’s had a single home run and while his OPS has been just as good as it has last season, there are fears that he might have gone and tried to fix something that wasn’t broken. In short, some people are fearing he might have tried to trade power for finesse and it might not be working.