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.

2011-ST 15 14 .517
2011-RG 80 82 .494
2010-ST 19 9 .679
2010-RG 69 93 .426
2009-ST 12 20 .375
2009-RS 65 97 .401
2008-ST 15 14 .517
2008-RS 81 81 .500
2007-ST 16 14 .533
2007-RS 96 66 .593
2006-ST 20 12 .625
2006-RS 78 84 .481
2005-ST 16 13 .552
2005-RS 93 69 .574
2004-ST 18 14 .563
2004-RS 80 82 .494
2003-ST 19 11 .633
2003-RS 68 94 .420
2002-ST 15 17 .469
2002-RS 74 88 .457
2001-ST 13 13 .500
2001-RS 91 71 .562
2000-ST 16 14 .533
2000-RS 90 72 .556
1999-ST 13 19 .406
1999-RS 97 65 .599
1998-ST 12 17 .414
1998-RS 89 73 .549
1997-ST 16 18 .471
1997-RS 86 75 .534
1996-ST 21 13 .618
1996-RS 99 62 .615
1995-ST 8 3 .727
1995-RS 100 44 .694
1994-ST 18 14 .563
1994-RS 66 47 .584
1993-ST 11 14 .440
1993-RS 76 86 .469
1992-ST 16 14 .533
1992-RS 76 86 .469
1991-ST 16 11 .593
1991-RS 57 105 .352

1 Comment

  • Will McIlroy says:

    Part of the problem with divining the importance of Spring Training results is, after 5 months of winter, we’re desperate for any kind of activity and potential excitement. Add in the virtual 24/7 media cycle to feed our habit and you have a nice recipe for false drama and mind quicksand.

    Unless fighting for a spot, most players would say its only about getting your work in to be ready for the real bell. Also, the roster is fluid, by May team needs often change and past results generally mean nothing until, of course, they do.

    Still, its fun to speculate and fret and fantasize. Sometimes I think baseball is one of the most over analyzed and dissected sports and then I turn on the NFL Network where watching big guys do broad jumps and cone drills in skin suits is now a thriving media event and pundits solemnly debate the real life (ie, financial) difference between a 29 inch vertical leap and a 31 inch vertical leap. Riveting.

    Seems like the year Joey changed his name to Albert he homered in 6-7 straight spring games and went on to a big season. 1994 or 1995? Unfortunately, I don’t see a Joey/Albert on this year’s team.

    Is it just me or does Asdrubal look physically sloppy (out of shape) with the do-rag, longer hair and baggy uniform? Is this the way to earn a long term deal? Hitting .125 isn’t helping, either.