SportsYankees Seven spring numbers to watch for the Mets and Yankees By CODY DERESPINA email@example.com March 18, 2015 12:35 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Spring training stats are meaningless. Generally. But they can be useful in showing trends or highlighting a particular area of strength or weakness a team is focusing its attention on. Here are some spring numbers worth watching until both New York teams head north to begin the 2015 MLB season. PITCH PERFECT Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr. The Yankees entered spring training without an established closer and with question marks surrounding every starting pitcher. As of March 18, Yankees pitchers lead MLB with a 4.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.78 groundout-to-flyout ratio. The staff’s 1.13 WHIP is second to only the Dodgers. Yankees pitchers’ 32 walks are tied with the Nationals for third-fewest and the staff is top-five in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage against. Only four of the 39 pitchers that have taken the mound have issued more than two walks; 19 have issued none. Of those 19, 10 have MLB experience. ALEX WALKS THE WALK Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr. Alex Rodriguez is batting .300 (6-for-20) this spring as he returns from a yearlong suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal. His four walks are tied (with Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge) for the team lead and he’s also struck out only four times, a good indication of his readiness to judge pitches in the strike zone. ANTHONY OR JOHNNY? Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa Mets catcher Johnny Monell is having a big camp, hitting .440 (11-for-25) with three home runs, leading some observers to wonder if he’s a better option to back up Travis d’Arnaud than Anthony Recker (pictured), who is 3-for-18 (.167). So, let’s compare the minor-league track records of the two, who have a similar number of games played: Monell is a .264 hitter with a .347 OBP and 81 home runs in 709 games, and Recker is a .273 hitter with a .351 OBP and 100 home runs in 731 games. Also note that Monell has gone deep off Jose Veras, Kirby Yates and Preston Claiborne, fringe relievers appearing near the end of games with all the regulars long gone. FREE PASS Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa Speedy Matt den Dekker has the odd accomplishment of tallying more walks than hits this spring. The Mets outfielder is 6-for-25 with eight walks and 10 strikeouts. BENCH BATTLE Photo Credit: Mike Stobe Kirk Nieuwenhuis, battling for a bench spot with the Mets, is 5-for-10 with two doubles against lefthanders this spring. Nieuwenhuis, a lefthanded hitter, saw 120 of his 130 plate appearances in 2014 against righthanded pitchers, so an ability to hit lefties would add to his value. LEFT OUT Photo Credit: Michael Ross Righthanded outfielder John Mayberry was acquired as a bat to be used against lefthanded pitchers, but he’s only had eight plate appearances vs. southpaws this spring. He has three hits, though. He’s batting .500, 9-for-18, against righthanders. SWITCH IT UP Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr. The Yankees have taken 162 at-bats against lefthanded pitching this spring and are hitting .204. Switch-hitters Chase Headley, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira are a combined 4-for-23 (.173). By CODY DERESPINA firstname.lastname@example.org Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.