Why you shouldn’t worry about Roansy Contreras’ spring performance

While Roansy Contreras hasn't done well in Spring Training, you shouldn't worry about his overall performance.

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St. Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

While Pittsburgh Pirates' RHP Roansy Contreras has not done well in Spring Training, you shouldn't worry about his overall performance.

Pittsburgh Pirates right-handed pitcher Roansy Contreras has not had a good Spring Training. He has only pitched 6.2 innings but has allowed four walks, has struck out just a single batter, and let five earned runs score. Although this isn’t a promising start to Spring Training, and even more so once you consider how much he struggled in 2023, there are multiple reasons why you shouldn’t worry about Contreras’ performance thus far.

The first is pretty obvious, and that’s because it’s only 6.2 innings. He hasn’t even pitched a whole game’s worth of innings yet. Any pitcher can look good or bad in 6.2 innings. Any bad numbers are going to be accentuated because of the small sample size. It’s jumping to conclusions if only looking at this small sample size, and looking at bottom line stats is a waste of time in most cases.

The second reason is that Contreras’ stuff has looked decent this spring. He’s averaging 95 MPH once again on his fastball, significantly closer to what it was in 2022. Another positive is that his four-seamer hasn’t lost any spin, either. His fastball isn’t the only pitch that’s seen an uptick in velocity. His slider and change-up have gained nearly a whole MPH, and his curveball has gained two whole MPH. Stuff+ also supports the idea that he has definitely taken a step forward.

This, to me, is ten times more important than his ERA or bottom line results. I have seen plenty of times before a player performs awfully in Spring Training before going on to have an outstanding regular season, and vice versa. I’ve been able to write whole articles before about this happening. When I watch Spring Training, I have very little interest in how a pitcher performs. Of course, that’s not to say it wouldn’t be nice to see him do well, but I am way more interested in how their overall stuff looks.

The third reason is that it’s still Spring Training. Players are warming up for the season ahead. Many are fine-tuning their game. Others are getting used to mechanical adjustments, and they are now just trying them out in a game setting. Keep in mind that Contreras is throwing his slider and change-up even harder than he threw each pitch in 2022. He is probably also getting used to a mechanical change this preseason.

Again, would it be nice for Pirates fans to see Contreras have some shutdown outings this Spring?

Of course, but it’s not what you should be looking for. He’s throwing harder and he’s throwing with more movement, and that’s what is important right now. I think that worrying about how he’s performed overall in Spring is overreacting.