Spring training guarantees nothing. We all know this, but sometimes we can’t help but jump to conclusions.Most baseball people will tell you that it’s best not to bank on results you see during https://www.redsedges.com/cincinnati-reds/ken-griffey-jersey the seemingly endle s six-week slag in Florida and Arizona.No matter how good a player looks, he’s probably not that good. No matter how bad a player looks, he’s probably not that bad. Hence the old baseball adage: Never trust what yousee in March or September.MORE: Opening Day schedule for all 30 teamsSometimes, teams and fans really want to trust what they see. Other times,they hope and pray that it’s all been a nasty mirage. We’ve seen both so far this March in two of baseball’s most prized prospects.At Braves camp in Florida, Ronald Acua, 20, has looked every bit like the uber-hyped prospect who’s being hailed by many as the best phenom in the game. At Angels camp in Arizona, Shohei Ohtani the “Babe Ruth of Japan,” the superstartwo-way player with the potential to change the game as we know it has been mostly a giant thud.Two major prospects, two vastly different springs. But what to make of it all? Short answer, as always: We don’t know yet. But it’s best to temper enthusiasm or disgust.Entering Monday’s exhibition games, Acua hada .432 average, an on-base percentage of .512 and an OPS of 1.247 in 44 at-bats. That’s, um,good. So good that his average, OBP and OPS were second in all of baseball entering Monday. In other words, he’s exactly what the Braves have hoped he’d be: a potential new face of the franchise who, one scout already says, could put up Hall of Fame numbers.”He’s a legit kid. What you read, what you hear, everything is true,”Braves manager Brian Snitker told USA Today. “The kid’s a gifted baseballhttps://www.redsedges.com/cincinnati-reds/pete-rose-jerseyplayer, no doubt about it. Can he get better? Yeah.”More Snitker, this time to MLB.com:”He’s really had limited minor league experience. In this day and age, nobody’s sneaking up on anybody anymore, so it’s tough for these guys.”One way to interpret that: JudgeMarch with a hopeful but realisticeye.MORE: 18 things I really want to see in 2018Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Ohtani an elite pitcher and hitter in Japan is batting .083 with an OBP of .214 in 24 at-bats. That’s a small-ish sample size, even for spring training, but it’s stillbad. On the pitching side, Ohtani’s official spring ERA is 27.00. He’s allowed nine hits and nine runs in 2.2 innings pitched. To be fair, that’s not the whole story. When you factor ina “B” game against minor leaguers and another game against the Tijuana Toros, Ohtani has allowed 15 earned runs, 18 hits andfour homers to put his overall spring ERA at16.20. That’s still not good.In other words, he’s beenthe opposite of what the Angels hoped to get: a two-way All-Star who can change a game with his arm and his bat, who potentially couldpitch a complete game shutout and go 4-for-4 with two homersat the plate. There’s even talk that Ohtani could start the season in the minors.But the Angels aren’t about to panic, nor should they.”With his tool package, his ability and his athleticism, he’s an elite-level prospect,” Angels GM Billy Eppler told the Los Angeles Times. “He’s not a finished product. Players who are 23 rarely are. They tend to peak at https://www.redsedges.com/cincinnati-reds/devin-mesoraco-jerseyage 25 or 26 to 30.”Eppler continued, per the Times:”He has performed at the highest level that is not major league baseball those are the only knowns. It’s just like a club that is sitting on another elite prospect who has dominated at triple-A level and hasn’t played in the big leagues yet.That club knows that player has dominated a level as close to the major leagues domestically as it can get. We view (Japan’s Pacific League)as a very good league. We’ve seen players who have dominated that league have an impact over here.”In other words,don’t trust what you see in March.MORE: Every team should follow Orioles’ lead to attract young fansI wrote about that old trust adage last September, when the Dodgers were ice cold and uninspiringand the Indians were red hot andunbeatable. Obvious narratives emerged. In the end, though, the only real narrative was this: The Dodgers went to the seventh game of the World Series while the Indians went home after the first round. The adage proved true again.Will it prove true for Acua and Ohtani? Probably.Acua won’t hit .432 or anywhere close, andit seems unlikely that a16.00 ERA or a batting average below .100 will be on Ohtani’s 2019 baseball card. Both will settle in the Real MLB versions of themselves, and both should be plenty good.Yes, there will learning curves and adjustments,but the talent isthere and talent plays in MLB.There have been plenty ofbig-league players and teams who had great springs but ended up having abysmal seasons. The opposite is also true because that oldadage exists for a reason.Trust in March and September at your own peril.
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