FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. This is the paradox of spring training: the numbers mean nothing, the games don’t count, and yet rather than get depressed about meaningless baseball we’re all excited that there is baseball being played.

    Comment by Bah! — February 17, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  2. At the same time, we can look forward to seeing if guys Jason Heyward stick with the big league club. Stats might not matter for Jeremy Reed and Khalil Greene, but certainly if Heyward hits .400 this spring, the pressure on Braves management to keep him with the big league team will be immense.

    Comment by Temo — February 17, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

  3. To be fair to Eck, it was not his lowest wRC+ season of his career (after all, he was playing at PETCO).

    But good news, guys, he’ll be Hall of Fame eligible once he starts this season!

    Comment by Joe R — February 17, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

  4. Spring training numbers can be somewhat helpful. For instance, I drafted Kevin Brown in 2003. He was injured in 2002 and very few people thought he would be worth anything in 2003. 2003 was his age 38 season. His numbers were dominatn in spring training and the reports about him were good. He finished the 2003 season with a 2.38 ERA in 211 IP with outstanding peripherals.

    I think spring training numbers are helpful when it comes to players coming back from injury (especially pitchers). I do think you have to look beyond the numbers to a certain extent and pay attention to what the scouts are saying though.

    Comment by Snake — February 17, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

  5. Quote “Pitchers and catchers report to Arizona and Florida respectively”

    Are pitchers reporting to Arizona and catchers to Florida this year. Long toss is getting way outta hand.

    Comment by John — February 17, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

  6. I disagree on the stat portion of the K Brown pick. Could have had a miserable spring and still done well in ’03. The fact that scouts and ‘reports’ were positive probably was more telling.

    For me, the important thing is to watch as much as I can in spring. Last year I SAW justin verlander and knew I wanted to draft him. He walked more than he K’d (16:15 in 32 innings), but it was the life on his fastball that caught my attention.

    Comment by Jimbo — February 17, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

  7. John Kruk is in the best shape of his life.

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — February 17, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  8. I’m not excited. Not anymore. Thanks for ruining Spring Training Dave.

    Comment by Evan — February 17, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  9. The stats backed up the reports and visa versa. Since both were positive, I had a strong belief that he would play well. I was right.

    Comment by Snake — February 17, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

  10. This was awesome.

    Comment by ToddM — February 17, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

  11. IETC

    Comment by jliu — February 17, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

  12. Crashburn Alley had a post about this with respect to Phillies players and reached the same conclusion.

    http://crashburnalley.com/2010/02/04/does-spring-training-matter/

    Comment by don — February 17, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  13. I think Fox should purchase the broadcast rights for all Spring Training games and then the team with the best record from each league gets to swap its worst player for the worst team’s best player, a la “Asshole.”

    And then obviously the marketing pitch is: after the Fox robot throws a 200mph fastball, he says, “Spring Training 2010: This time, they’re playing for keeps.”

    Comment by The Hit Dog — February 17, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

  14. hahahahaha

    Comment by Joe R — February 17, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

  15. More like….

    This is the paradox of spring training: the numbers mean nothing, the games don’t count, and yet jobs are won and lost based on some players’ performances during the month.

    Comment by Bryz — February 17, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

  16. Good catch.

    Comment by Bryz — February 17, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

  17. Does this also apply to players who do poorly in spring training? Did any of the top ten 2009 MVP or Cy Young vote-getters have egregiously bad spring numbers?

    Comment by Mike — February 17, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

  18. Though it takes some fun out of spring training I would agree except when it comes to pitchers and their ability to get the ball over the plate. If a pitcher is granting way too many walks that would be a huge concern, even if he is ‘working on a new pitch’ or whatever. Either last spring or the one before (could have been both, really) Dontrelle Willis couldn’t throw strikes and he didn’t in his limited opportunities in the regular season, either.

    Comment by Jeff — February 17, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  19. Zack Greinke’s ERA coming out of spring last year was almost 10.00, as he spent the entire camp working on his changeup – sometimes throwing nothing else in some games.

    Comment by geo — February 17, 2010 @ 2:01 pm

  20. I disagree with the statement that spring numbers don’t matter. It just depends on what you’re looking for and who you’re looking at.

    For established players, yes the numbers don’t mean much. For players who are up-and-comers who are fighting for a starting/bench spot, good numbers also don’t mean much, but bad numbers matter.

    Important stats to look at are at-bats and innings pitched. If someone is getting lots of playing time, this is a sign the team is focusing on the player. Brad Bergesen got lots of innings last spring – after realizing this and looking at his minor league #’s I put him on my radar, and took him in my reserve draft.

    Comment by Mike D — February 17, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  21. FYI above wasn’t a response to Jeff, just a general statement… Always forget I shouldn’t hit ‘Reply’ and to just hit ‘Submit Comment’…

    Comment by Mike D — February 17, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

  22. Not sure where the numbers are coming from. MLB.com has a lot more than 7 hitters with a BA over .400 and at least 50 ABs in ST 09. Tex was one, so was Miguel Cabrera. And since when is BA definitive of anything at Fangraphs?

    Comment by Paul — February 17, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

  23. a few yrs ago, Pudge hit more HR in spring training than he did all season

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — February 17, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

  24. CHAN HO PARK
    ST 2009: 21.1 IP with a 2.53 ERA and 25 K’s – all starting

    Regular Season 2009 as a STARTER:
    8 GS started with a 7.02 ERA and 21 K’s in 34 innings.

    /tugs collar

    Comment by BATTLETANK — February 17, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

  25. Paul, please note that he specified 7 NL players, so Tex and Cabrera do not qualify.

    Comment by geo — February 17, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

  26. I’ve heard his wife isn’t as disgusted by him as she used to be.

    Comment by Kevin S. — February 17, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

  27. Ricky Nolasco pitched a combined no-hitter last spring, and then collapsed in the beginning of the season. Take from that what you will.

    Comment by David C. — February 17, 2010 @ 10:34 pm

  28. It’s not that the numbers mean nothing, it’s just a noisier sample than usual, with lots of outliers that might need to be thrown out (like a pitcher throwing nothing but changeups). There are lots of examples after the first few weeks of a season too – strange guys hitting .400, random hitters with 10 HRs in the first month. Of course, those numbers “count”, and are also rarely good indicators of season-end leaders.

    Taken as a whole, I’d be surprised if spring training numbers were a better indicator than previous track record in the minors/majors, so in that sense the numbers would be useless. But if no other information was available (say baseball didn’t keep records, just started fresh every year), I would think spring training numbers would be better than nothing.

    Comment by aweb — February 18, 2010 @ 10:30 am

  29. I will take from that a string of bad luck. Nolasco had BABIP and HR/FB unluckiness throughout the season. This year will be his year

    Comment by David MVP Eckstein — February 18, 2010 @ 8:28 pm

  30. Hey Guys,
    I just wanted to let you know about this raffle that is going on by Rosie O’Donnell and CFC for Rosie’s Broadway Kids Charity. Rosie is raffling off a Luxury Suite on April 3, 2010 for a Nationals preseason game against the Boston Red Sox. The suite has 19 seats and includes In-Suite food and beverages for the winner and guests. The raffle tickets are only $2 with a minimum purchase of 5 tickets. You can get your tickets at http://www.netraffle.org !

    Comment by SMorin6 — February 22, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

  31. You tell us spring training means nothing.. You tell us they’re working on stuff.. Ok, fine.. But then you gotta go and say the power numbers are helped because they play in the desert.. Just please remember one thing Dave.. These guys are GOOD!! **** C’mon Dave, give the boys of summer some deserved credit!!

    Comment by MICHAEL — April 4, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

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