What does your Spring Training record mean? After I compared Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez’s respective Spring Training records to their regular season records, I started wondering about the Indians Spring Training record vs. regular season record. Would there be any correlation between a good Spring Training and a good regular season? Conversely, would a team that stank in Spring Training have a lousy season? Would it sometimes be counter-intuitive–would a team do well in Spring Training and then stink up the joint during the regular season? Would the Spring Training record make you start drinking heavily before Opening Day only to have the team pleasantly surprise you? As Meg Ryan said in When Harry Met Sally, Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes.
Baseball Analysts did a nice piece a couple years back on the value of Spring Training games as a predictive tool. There is clearly some value to Spring Training games, especially as guys begin to be cut and the 25-man roster of the regular season takes shape. Back in February, Acta announced the bulk of the Opening Day lineup and Masterson as the Opening Day pitcher. So we already know some of the basics. Someone with more statistical prowess (i.e., most people) can find greater meaning in these numbers. I had fun comparing the seasons.
A few general observations:
* We’ve lingered around .500 for most of my adult life. I think this is slightly better than the not-always-loveable-losers teams of my childhood. But only slightly.
* I had forgotten that the 1991 team looked pretty good in Spring Training. I’ll remember that that team lost 105 games till the day I die. Perhaps the disappoint of that dismal season was magnified because of the high hopes raised by Spring Training.
* Damn, that 1995 team was superlative.
* 2010, 2006, and 2003 really got my hopes up, only to dash them against the rocks.